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Development of a Marine Dynamics database for the Panamanian coasts to assess vulnerability and climate change impacts to sea level rise

CTCN

Context

Panama is a narrow strip of land, bordering two major oceans, the Pacific and the Atlantic, with a coastline of more than 2400 km. This coastal zone is one of the most diverse in the region, with a wide variety of ecosystems such as mangrove forests, estuaries, reefs, archipelagos, etc. These natural environments provide a series of ecosystem services that have an impact on activities such as fishing and tourism, sustaining the economy of many communities. The direct impacts of sea level rise such as coastal erosion, saline intrusion and coastal flooding have become worrying threats to these communities. In addition to this, the majority of the population living in coastal areas are mostly classified as extremely poor, placing them in a double inequality, where socio-economic factors aggravate their vulnerability to climate change.

Considering the available sea level rise scenarios, it is important to have high resolution local marine dynamics data. Meteorological-oceanic variables are essential to characterize the vulnerability of coastal communities, infrastructure, and activities to possible flooding. In this sense, and with the CTCN assistance, the aim is to obtain a high-resolution database on marine dynamics (mean sea level, waves, meteorological tide, astronomical tide).

The development of these marine dynamic’s indicators will allow Panama to have the necessary inputs to characterize coastal flooding in the face of extreme events and climate change, and thus be able to direct adaptation efforts and direct resources to those regions and activities that are threatened by coastal disaster events.

CTCN Support

The overall objective of this technical assistance is to develop key tools for risk assessment in Panamanian coasts in order to implement climate change adaptation in coastal-marine zones:

  • Development of high-resolution numerical data of marine dynamics (Coastal Flood Elevation Points on: (meteorological tide + astronomical tide + waves and projections of mean sea level rise) at a resolution of less than 30 km for the Panamanian Atlantic and Pacific coasts in different return periods (10, 15, 50 and 100) and under different emission scenarios.
  • Methodological tools (procedural guides) for the generation of marine dynamics data and their use in coastal risk assessment.
  • Assessment and recommendation of adaptation measures for the coastal zone with nature-based solutions.
  • Technical capacity building through training of officials of the Climate Change Directorate of the Ministry of the Environment
  • Development of high impact graphic material for communities at risk.

Expected Results

The main activity of this assistance is the development of high-resolution numerical databases on marine dynamics. Also, this technical assistance will ensure the elaboration of procedural tools for coastal risk assessment based on the data generated, recommendations for nature-based adaptation measures for the coast (nature-based solutions), capacity transfer to the Climate Change Directorate of the Ministry of Environment, and the realization of high impact graphic material on the communities at risk previously identified.

 

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