Climate Change and the Future Impacts of Storm-Surge Disasters in Developing Countries
As the climate changes during the 21st century, larger cyclonic storm surges and growing populations may collide in disasters of unprecedented size. As conditions worsen, variations in coastal morphology will magnify the effects in some areas, while largely insulating others. In this paper, we explore the implications for 84 developing countries and 577 of their cyclone-vulnerable coastal cities with populations greater than 100,000. Combining the most recent scientific and demographic information, we estimate the future impact of climate change on storm surges that will strike coastal populations, economies and ecosystems. We focus on the distribution of heightened impacts, because we believe that greater knowledge of their probable variation will be useful for local and national planners, as well as international donors. Our results suggest gross inequality in the heightened impact of future disasters, with the most severe effects limited to a small number of countries and a small cluster of large cities.
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