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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Geomatic Solutions For Coastal Environments
Title Climate change and sea-level rise: Agus-based vulnerability and impact assesment, the case of the Moroccan coast
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2010
Abstract
Scientific evidence suggests that climate change and sea-level rise will potentially
have significant impacts on the coastal environment and human society. The most
valuable set of tools that can be used to understand the processes associated with these
changes and to assess their environmental and socioeconomic impacts is Geographic
Information Systems (GIS).
Studies carried out in Morocco reveal that in many locations, the low-lying coastal
areas are very sensitive to accelerated sea-level rise, not only due to their low topography,
but also to their high ecological, economic and tourist values. Assessment of the potential
land loss by inundation and erosion, based on a modeling approach and GIS, has enabled
to identify both locations and the socioeconomic sectors that are most at risk to
accelerated sea-level rise and extreme events. The case studies of Saidia and Tetouan
littorals (sandy beaches with important RAMSAR sites and high touristic value) on the
Mediterranean coast, and Mohamedia littoral (very populated with many economic
activities) on the Atlantic coast, show that the most severely impacted sectors, are
expected to be the settlements, the recreational and industrial areas, agricultural land, and
the coastal ecosystems. Indeed, the conversion of natural coastal habitats such as coastal
dunes and wetlands for urban or agricultural uses reduced the ability of such ecosystems
to provide a natural barrier or buffer against wave action and storm surges. This should
be exacerbated with the expected rise in sea level.
Assessment of the physical and socioeconomic vulnerability, using a Coastal
Vulnerability Index, allowed highlighting those areas where the effects of future sea-level
rise might be the greatest. This information may have direct application in coastal
development programs in both the short and long term, and can assist the decision-
2 Maria Snoussi, Saïda Niazi and Abdou Khouakhi
makers in the implementation of preventive management strategies in the most sensitive
areas.

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