The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports on implications of climate change for coastal systems and low-lying areas and six important policy-relevant issues that have emerged.
This chapter presents a global perspective on the impacts of climate change and sea-level rise on coastal and adjoining lowlying areas, with an emphasis on post-2000 insights. Here, coastal systems are considered as the interacting low-lying areas and shallow coastal waters, including their human components. This includes adjoining coastal lowlands, which have often developed through sedimentation during the Holocene (past 10,000 years), but excludes the continental shelf and ocean margins. Inland seas are not covered, except as analogues.
In addition to local drivers and interactions, coasts are subject to external events that pose a hazard to human activities and may compromise the natural functioning of coastal systems. Terrestrial-sourced hazards include river floods and inputs of sediment or pollutants; marine-sourced hazards include storm surges, energetic swell and tsunamis.