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Wetlands at Risk from Sea-Level Rise - dataset

Authors:Susmita Dasgupta  and Brian Blankespoor
Non-Bank Author:Benoit Laplante
Web Address:Climate change impacts and adaptation in coastal areas
Report Number:WPS6277

                                             "Sea-level rise and coastal wetlands: impacts and costs"
                                              S. Dasgupta, B. Blankespoor, B. Laplante
                                              World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 6277, November 2012

Scientific evidence indicates that global warming could lead to a sea-level rise (SLR) of 1 meter or more in the 21st century. In this research, we have assessed how that would affect coastal wetlands in 76 developing countries and territories, taking into account how much of wetlands would be submerged and how likely the wetlands would move inland as the coastline recedes.

Geographic Information System (GIS) software has been used to overlay the best available, spatially-disaggregated global data on freshwater marsh, Global Lakes and Wetlands Database (GLWD) Coastal Wetlands and brackish/saline wetlands, with the inundation zones projected for 1m SLR. In order to assess the impact of SLR on wetlands and the potential for adaptation, the wetland migratory potential (WMP) characteristic in the Dynamic Interactive Vulnerability Assessment (DIVA) database from the DINAS-COAST project has been used (Vafeidis et al, 2008). Our research estimates the vulnerable freshwater marsh, swamp forest, GLWD Coastal Wetlands, and brackish/saline wetlands, areas at risk by country and territory.

Original data sources for assessment of impacts:

DimensionDataset nameUnitResolutionSource(s)
Coastal and
country boundary
Maritime boundaryExclusive Economic Zone  VLIZ (2011) Maritime
Boundaries Geodatabase, version 6.1
ElevationSRTM 90m DEM V2km2 90mCGIAR-CSI 
WetlandsGLWD-3km21kmCESR, Lehner, B. and Döll, P. (2004)
Coastal attributesDIVA GIS database  Vafeidis et al (2008)
Country-level impacts have been summarized in the spreadsheet below

Limitations of the research:

  1. We have not assessed the time profile of 1m SLR. We take this scenario as given, and assess the exposure of wetlands for each of the 76 developing countries and 5 regions.
  2. The digital elevation (90m DEM V2) data used in our analysis gives altitude in 1-meter increments, preventing us from sub-meter SLR modeling. One can interpolate the elevation data we have used for sub-meter SLR modeling, but in that case, precision of the estimates would be difficult to justify. The potential use of LIDAR survey (laser-based elevation measurement from low-flying aircraft) was beyond the scope of our analysis.
  3. Lack of resolution of spatial data of the wetlands and digital elevation higher than 90m prevented us from including small islands in our analysis.
  4. We have not estimated potential destruction of wetlands from direct and indirect human actions.
Access to Dataset
  • Vulnerable Wetlands - dataset (XLS, 37kb)

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