Effects of Scale and Input Data on Assessing the Future Impacts of Coastal Flooding: An Application of DIVA for the Emilia-Romagna Coast

Claudia Wolff, Athanasios T. Vafeidis, Daniel Lincke, Christian Marasmi, Jochen Hinkel
2016 Frontiers in Marine Science  
This paper assesses sea-level rise related coastal flood impacts for Emilia-Romagna (Italy) using the Dynamic Interactive Vulnerability Assessment (DIVA) modeling framework and investigate the sensitivity of the model to four uncertainty dimensions, namely (1) elevation, (2) population, (3) vertical land movement, (4) scale and resolution of assessment. A one-driver-at-a-time sensitivity approach is used in order to explore and quantify the effects of uncertainties in input data and assessment
more » ... ata and assessment scale on model outputs. Of particular interest is the sensitivity of flood risk estimates when using datasets of different resolution. The change in assessment scale is implemented through the use of a more detailed digital coastline and input data for the coastline segmentation process. This change leads to a 35-fold increase in the number of coastal segments and in a more realistic spatial representation of coastal flood impacts for the Emilia-Romagna coast. Furthermore, the coastline length increases by 43%, considerably influencing adaptation costs (construction of dikes). With respect to input data our results show that by the end of the century coastal flood impacts are more sensitive to variations in elevation and vertical land movement data than to variations in population data in the study area. The inclusion of local information on human induced subsidence rates increases the relative sea-level by 60 cm in 2100, resulting in coastal flood impacts that are up to 25% higher compared to those generated with the global DIVA values, which mainly account for natural processes. The choice of one elevation model over another can result in differences of ∼45% of the coastal floodplain extent and up to 50% in flood damages by 2100. Our results emphasize that the scale of assessment and resolution of the input data can have significant implications for the results of coastal flood impact assessments. Understanding and communicating these implications is essential for effectively supporting decision makers in developing long-term robust and flexible adaptation plans for future changes of highly uncertain scale and direction.
doi:10.3389/fmars.2016.00041 fatcat:arehe5lntfg7beqbidplieh2d4