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An assessment of the physical impacts of sea-level rise and coastal adaptation: a case study of the eastern coast of Ghana


  • Isaac Boateng



Sea-level rise is a major coastal issue in the 21st century because many of the world’s built assets are located in the coastal zone. Coastal erosion and flooding are serious threats along the coast of Ghana, particularly, the eastern coast where the Volta delta is located. Past human interventions, climate change and the resultant rise in sea-levels, increased storm intensity and torrential rainfall have been blamed for these problems. Accelerated sea-level rise and storm surge pose serious threat to coastal habitat, bio-diversity and socio-economic activities in the coastal zone of Ghana and elsewhere. There is the need for an holistic assessment of the impacts of sea-level rise on the coast zone in order to formulate appropriate adaptation policies and strategies to mitigate the possible effects. Using the eastern coast of Ghana as a case study, this paper assesses the physical impacts of accelerated sea level rise and storm surge on the coastal environment. It evaluates adaptation policies and plans that could be implemented to accommodate the present and any future impacts. Field investigation and Geographic Information System (GIS) are among the methods used for the assessment. The outcome of the assessment has provided comprehensive knowledge of the potential impacts of accelerated sea-level rise and storm surge on the eastern coast. It has facilitated identification of management units, the appraisal of alternate adaptation policies and the selection of the best policy options based upon the local conditions and environmental sustainability. Among other things, this paper reveals that the eastern coast of Ghana is highly vulnerable to accelerated sea-level rise and therefore, requires sustainable adaptation policies and plans to manage the potential impacts. It recommends that various accommodation policies, which enable areas to be occupied for longer before eventual retreat, could be adapted to accommodate vulnerable settlements in the eastern coast of Ghana. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Isaac Boateng, 2012. "An assessment of the physical impacts of sea-level rise and coastal adaptation: a case study of the eastern coast of Ghana," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 114(2), pages 273-293, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:climat:v:114:y:2012:i:2:p:273-293
    DOI: 10.1007/s10584-011-0394-0

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stéphane Hallegatte & Nicola Ranger & Olivier Mestre & Patrice Dumas & Jan Corfee-Morlot & Celine Herweijer & Robert Wood, 2011. "Assessing climate change impacts, sea level rise and storm surge risk in port cities: a case study on Copenhagen," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 104(1), pages 113-137, January.
    2. Clement Aga Alo & Robert Gilmore Pontius Jr, 2008. "Identifying systematic land-cover transitions using remote sensing and GIS: the fate of forests inside and outside protected areas of Southwestern Ghana," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 35(2), pages 280-295, March.
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