Diez Gonzalez, Jose Javier and Esteban Pérez, María Dolores and Paz Doel, Rosa Maria and López Gutiérrez, José Santos and Negro Valdecantos, Vicente
Coastal Urban Flood Resislience versus Climate Change.
In: "12th International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology (CEST2011)", 08/09/2010 - 10/09/2010, Rhodes, Grecia. pp. 423-430.
Processes of founding and expanding cities in coastal areas have undergone great changes over time driven by environmental conditions. Coastal settlements looked for places above flood levels and away from swamps and other wetlands whenever possible. As populations grew, cities were extending trying to avoid low and wet lands. No city has been able to limit its growth. The risk of flooding can never be eliminated, but only reduced to the extent possible. Flooding of coastal areas is today dramatically attributed to eustasic sea level rise caused by global climate change. This can be inaccurate. Current climate change is generating an average sea level upward trend, but other regional and local factors result in this trend being accentuated in some places or attenuated, and even reversed, in others. Then, the intensity and frequency of coastal flooding around the planet, although not so much as a unique result of this general eustasic elevation, but rather of the superposition of marine and crustal dynamic elements, the former also climate-related, which give rise to a temporary raising in average sea level in the short term. Since the Little Ice Age the planet has been suffering a global warming change leading to sea level rise. The idea of being too obeying to anthropogenic factors may be attributed to Arrhenius (1896), though it is of much later highlight after the sixties of the last century. Never before, the human factor had been able of such an influence on climate. However, other types of changes in sea levels became apparent, resulting from vertical movements of the crust, modifications of sea basins due to continents fracturing, drifting and coming together, or to different types of climate patterns. Coastal zones are then doubly susceptible to floods. Precipitation immediately triggers pluvial flooding. If it continues upland or when snow and glaciers melt eventually fluvial flooding can occur. The urban development presence represents modifying factors. Additional interference is caused by river and waste water drainage systems. Climate also influences sea levels in coastal areas, where tides as well as the structure and dynamic of the geoid and its crust come into play. From the sea, waters can flood and break or push back berms and other coastline borders. The sea level, controlling the mouth of the main channel of the basin's drainage system, is ultimately what governs flood levels. A temporary rise in sea level acts as a dam at the mouth. Even in absence of that global change, so, floods are likely going to increase in many urban coastal areas. Some kind of innovative methodologies and practices should be needed to get more flood resilience cities