Epitomes of Bottom-Up Hydro-Geo-Climatological Analysis to Face Sea Level Rise in Complex Coastal Ecosystems

M. Convertino, F. Nardi, G. A. Kiker, R. Munoz-Carpena, A. Troccolli, I. Linkov

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Climate affects ecosystems in multiple ways. An increased intensity of flooding events would occur if there is continuous sea level rise (SLR). SLR is a major threat to coastal ecosystems and the biota they support. In this chapter we provide a brief overview of flooding phenomena and their effects on cities, geomorphic elements, and species. In particular, we focus our attention on the relationship between climatological, hydrological, and ecological processes through data analysis and modeling. We consider two case studies as complex socioecological systems: Venice (Italy) and Florida. The persistence of the baroclinic pressure gradient over the Adriatic Sea and the SLR can potentially contribute to an increased flooding frequency of the city of Venice, causing an enormous economic and social impact. However, a trend assessment based on tidal observations found a reduction in extreme tidal levels. This is supported by recent results that suggest that the frequency of extreme tides in Venice might largely remain unaltered under the projected twenty-first century climate simulations because of the reduced frequency of storm surge events. For Florida, the observed increased frequency of the strongest tropical cyclones and the reduced frequency of the low-category cyclones will reduce the overwash that naturally shapes the beach habitat. Many shoreline-dependent species, such as some threatened and endangered shorebirds, will dramatically be affected by the inversion of the positive cyclone-species habitat feedback. At the same time, the negative effect of cyclones on infrastructure and inhabitants is forecasted to be very high. Thus, 'contextual vulnerability' approaches start by the definition of risks that are assessed by the integration of historical data analysis, models, and uncertainty evaluation of the predicted scenarios. This is fundamentally important to plan management policies under climate impacts, which will hopefully decrease the loss of cities, coastal landscapes, and species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationClimate Vulnerability
Subtitle of host publicationUnderstanding and Addressing Threats to Essential Resources
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9780123847041
StatePublished - Apr 2013

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2014 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Climate change
  • Coastal geomorphology
  • Florida
  • Hydrology
  • Sea level rise
  • Shorebirds
  • Venice


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