37 - fact sheet

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Simulating the impact of sea level rise on East Anglian coasts
The low-lying coasts of East Anglia are of crucial biological, economical and social importance, but are threatened by future climate change, sea level rise and increased storms. To prepare for these changes, regional computer models are essential to show the effects of management decisions on coastal environments, economies and activities. Professor Andrew Watkinson, from the Tyndall Centre and the University of East Anglia's Schools of Environmental and Biological Sciences, is leading a research team examining the interactions between the changing climate, coastal landscapes and biodiversity. The researchers are investigating how changes in sea level and sediment transport can be expected to impact on the biodiversity of the East Anglian coastal region - both in terms of changing habitat structure and the distribution and abundance of species, such as internationally important populations of wading birds and wildfowl together with commercially important shellfish stocks. The researchers will also model the influences of future extreme tidal and wind conditions on sea water movements near the East Anglian coastline, and the subsequent changes to the landscape. They will investigate whether offshore sea defences and naturally grown islands or peninsulas can protect vulnerable areas of coastline. The results will contribute to a regional coastal simulator to identify areas most at risk from climate change, and show the impact of Government policies and business decisions on the coastal environment. Although focusing on East Anglia, the techniques will be transferable to other coastal areas of various sizes around the world.

Researchers are investigating the impacts of sea level rise on the landscape, wildlife and economy of East Anglia, and will work with management groups in the region to discuss options for adaptation and mitigation of climate change. © M. Robinson More information Contact the lead investigator of Project IT1.37 (Towards an integrated coastal simulator of the impact of sea level rise in East Anglia): Professor Andrew Watkinson Schools of Environmental and Biological Sciences University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK Phone: +44 (0) 1603 59 2267; Fax: +44 (0) 1603 50 7719 Email: Other researchers involved in this project are: Professor Bill Sutherland, Dr Isabelle Côté, Dr Grant Bigg and Dr Jenny Gill, University of East Anglia Professor Brian Launder, Professor Peter Stansby and Professor Dominique Laurence, UMIST Project duration: September 2001 to August 2003 Useful web sites: The Tyndall Centre: University of East Anglia School of Biological Sciences: UK Climate Impacts Programme:

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IT1.37 - fact sheet

Regional Climate Change Impact and Response Studies in East Anglia and North West England (RegIS):

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