EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Coastal flooding in the Balearic Islands during the 21st century caused by sea level rise and extreme events

Pau Luque Lozano1, Lluís Gómez-Pujol2, Marta Marcos3,4, and Alejandro Orfila3
Pau Luque Lozano et al.
  • 1SOCIB, Palma, Spain (
  • 2Earth Sciences Research Group, Department of Biology, University of the Balearic Islands (UIB), Palma, Spain
  • 3IMEDEA (UIB-CSIC), Esporles, Spain
  • 4Department of Physics, University of the Balearic Islands (UIB), Palma, Spain

Sea-level rise induces a permanent loss of land with widespread ecological and economic impacts, most evident in urban and densely populated areas. The eventual coastline retreat combined with the action of waves and storm surges will end in more severe damages over coastal areas. These effects are expected to be particularly significant over islands, where coastal zones represent a relatively larger area vulnerable to marine hazards.

Managing coastal flood risk at regional scales requires a prioritization of resources and socioeconomic activities along the coast. Stakeholders, such as regional authorities, coastal managers and private companies, need tools that help to address the evaluation of coastal risks and criteria to support decision-makers to clarify priorities and critical sites. For this reason, the regional Government of the Balearic Islands (Spain) in association with the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Environment has launched the Plan for Climate Change Coastal Adaptation. This framework integrates two levels of analysis. The first one relates with the identification of critical areas affected by coastal flooding and erosion under mean sea-level rise scenarios and the quantification of the extent of flooding, including marine extreme events. The second level assesses the impacts on infrastructures and assets from a socioeconomic perspective due to these hazards.

In this context, this paper quantifies the effects of sea-level rise and marine extreme events caused by storm surges and waves along the coasts of the Balearic Islands (Western Mediterranean Sea) in terms of coastal flooding and potential erosion. Given the regional scale (~1500 km) of this study, the presented methodology adopts a compromise between accuracy, physical representativity and computational costs. We map the projected flooded coastal areas under two mean sea-level rise climate change scenarios, RCP4.5 and RCP8.5. To do so, we apply a corrected bathtub algorithm. Additionally, we compute the impact of extreme storm surges and waves using two 35-year hindcasts consistently forced by mean sea level pressure and surface winds from ERA-Interim reanalysis. Waves have been further propagated towards the nearshore to compute wave setup with higher accuracy. The 100-year return levels of joint storm surges and waves are used to map the spatial extent of flooding in more than 200 sandy beaches around the Balearic Islands by mid and late 21st century, using the hydrodynamical LISFLOOD-FP model and a high resolution (2 m) Digital Elevation Model.

How to cite: Luque Lozano, P., Gómez-Pujol, L., Marcos, M., and Orfila, A.: Coastal flooding in the Balearic Islands during the 21st century caused by sea level rise and extreme events, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-4549,, 2020

This abstract will not be presented.