This week on Ours to Protect, Ocean FM looked at protecting our coasts from the impact of sea level rise caused by climate change
Did you know?
- Climate change threatens coastal areas, which are already stressed by human activity, pollution, invasive species and storms
- An Ecosystem Based Approach makes use of biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of an overall strategy to improve our ability to deal with the effects of climate change
- Traditional engineering solutions are unlikely to protect coastal areas as time goes on. Looking to other environmentally based solutions will require a high level of understanding of the coastal system and ongoing monitoring of places that are vulnerable
- 300 “smart pebbles” have been distributed in Raghly by students of Grange Post Primary School. The pebbles are equipped with state-of-the-art technology, which will provide invaluable insights into erosion patterns and movements on our coastline
- Sea-level and climate change bring major challenges for all European coastal cities. In the North West the immediate challenges are flooding of coasts and rivers, erosion and increasingly intense storms
Why is this important?
- 40% of Ireland’s population live less than 5km from the sea
- A 6 metre sea level rise is inevitable – only the timing remains uncertain, and it will strongly impact here. The rate of sea level rise is nearly double that of the last century and is accelerating slightly every year
- Changes in sea level will mean that the impacts of increased storm surges and wave patterns, caused by climate change, will be much more serious in coastal areas
- Important coastal habitats, such as salt-marsh and sand dunes that provide valuable natural buffering from wave energy, as well as importance for wildlife, are being impacted by both sea level rise and human activity
- The increase in frequency and intensity of storms will threaten infrastructure built along the coast and rising sea levels could inundate coastal areas
- Direct impacts from sea level rise and increased wave energy include flooding and displacement of wetlands, coastal erosion, increased salinity in estuaries, coastal aquifers and blocked drainage
What can I do?
- Do not walk on dunes that are narrower than 10 metres wide, on larger dune systems only walk on well established paths, avoid camping in dunes – this means that you will not be adding to the damage already being caused by climate change and rising sea levels
- Engage with citizen science projects along our coast. These projects need to gather a large volume of information to develop sustainable solutions. They can only do so with the help of people like you!
- See if you can contribute to the SCORE project by contacting Salem Gharbia at [email protected] or through the SCORE project page
- Look into joining up with a day of marram grass planting – Clean Coasts and The Protect Our Dunes campaign are good places to start
For More Information:
SCORE Project Page
Protect Our Dunes Campaign
Score online course on Nature Based Solutions