How Will Sea-Level Rise Influence Spatial Population Change? Analysis of Adaptation Strategies and Their Effect on Sea-Level Rise-Induced Migration

Lena Reimann , Kiel University
Bryan Jones, CUNY Institute for Demographic Research (CIDR)
Claudia Wolff, Kiel University
Athanasios Vafeidis, Kiel University

Accelerating sea-level rise (SLR) in the course of the 21st century will result in population migration, the intensity and patterns of which will largely depend on the type and efficiency of adaptation strategies pursued. This study explores the effect of three coastal adaptation scenarios – 1) ‘build with nature’, 2) ‘hold the line’, 3) ‘save yourself’ – on migration, using a spatial population downscaling model calibrated to the Mediterranean region. We develop assumptions for each coastal adaptation scenario based on the socioeconomic developments described under the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs). Combining these with a range of relative SLR scenarios, we produce spatial population projections from 2020 to 2100. Our results offer insights into plausible long-term effects of adaptation strategies on migration by exploring the uncertainty space of future socioeconomic and climatic conditions. We provide first-order estimates of the number of people that have to migrate due to SLR and the type of adaptation strategies pursued, by pointing to the locations that people will migrate from, and those they will migrate to. These results suggest that adaptation may influence migration considerably, with effects extending well beyond the coast. Being able to establish potential ‘migration hotspots’ in the course of the 21st century, we anticipate that our findings can provide a suitable basis for decision-making, for example in adaptation planning or regional development planning.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session P11. Migration in a Changing Climate