Estimating the population impacts of sea level rise

Authored by: Katherine J. Curtis , Rachel S. Bergmans

Routledge Handbook of Environmental Displacement and Migration

Print publication date:  March  2018
Online publication date:  March  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138194465
eBook ISBN: 9781315638843
Adobe ISBN:


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Sea level rise is a growing concern to human populations and, subsequently, population scientists have an obvious interest in investigating the population impacts of this environmental change. Moreover, demographers are uniquely positioned to make significant contributions to the study of the population-environment nexus. Coastal populations are especially vulnerable to the impacts of sea level rise, which include an increase in the frequency and severity of flooding, associated storm surges, shoreline erosion and salt water contamination of fresh water supplies. The potential human impacts of sea level rise can be mitigated through adaptation and planning, and accurate population estimates are essential for effective planning and implementation. Understanding specific populations at risk as well as the magnitude of risk must become a high priority in population science. This chapter provides a review of the unique conceptual and technical challenges confronting population scientists pursuing this vital research area. Specifically, the chapter discusses analytical approaches and data sources currently used by population scientists to evaluate the human impacts of sea level rise, and highlights ways future researchers may address existing limitations to further advance study of this critical area.

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