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Coastal Erosion
Coastal erosion, also known as shoreline or beach erosion, is a natural process that affects all coastal areas within the Caribbean region, with the shoreline moving as part of normal beach behaviour. Coastal erosion is typically a chronic hazard, but severe coastal erosion may be caused by a single storm event.

Coastal Flooding

Flooding is a localized hazard that is generally the result of excessive precipitation.  Coastal flooding usually occurs with the passage of a severe weather system such as a hurricane as a result of:
  1. Excess rainfall that is dumped onto the coast,
  2. Large waves, high tides, and storm surges generated by a storm, and
  3. Excessive runoff from the upper island watershed.


Sea-Level Rise
Sea level rise can be defined as an increase in the mean sea level. Throughout history, the earth has gone through periods of sea level rise and decline, which are directly tied to climate change and global warming and cooling trends over geologic and recent time.

In comparison to other disasters that affect the coastal zone, sea level rise is on a much more gradual time scale. The effects of sea level rise take a long period of time to realize.

A major potential impact of sea level rise on the natural environment in the coastal zone is that of habitat loss due to wetland inundation, coastal erosion, salt water intrusion, or shift in climate limits on vegetation.

Additionally, a rising sea level will make built structures increasingly vulnerable to sudden flooding events.

Sea Level Rise - What Can You Do?
For more information on sea-level rise and what to do, please read the Township Planning Strategies for Storm Surge Toolkit developed by CDEMA/CCCCC/CIMH (2007). The Township Planning Strategies for Storm Surge Toolkit provides criteria and guidelines for sound risk management and adaptation strategies using the approach and findings of pilot studies conducted in Portmore, Jamaica and St. Peter, Barbados, as well as, documentation on strategies for disaster risk management and for climate change adaptation in other parts of the Caribbean.


For information on how to combat coastal erosion:


How Resilient Is Your Coastal Community?
Coastal Community Resilience Guide (3.49 MB)
Coastal Hazards Brochure (409.05 KB)

 


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