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Ramsar Evaluates Risk to Wetlands from Climate Change-Induced Sea-Level Rise

3 December 2012: The Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention) has released a Briefing Note, titled "Evaluating the risk to Ramsar Sites from climate change induced sea level rise," together with its web map service and data sets. These resources present a preliminary assessment of coastal Ramsar Sites that are at risk of inundation as a consequence of sea level rise.

The web map service and data sets were developed by and available from the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) of Columbia University.

The Briefing Note evaluates two scenarios: a 0-1 meter sea level rise, which is close to what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts for this century; and 0-2 meter sea level rise, which is an upper bound for sea level rise in this century if land-based ice sheets respond faster than expected to temperature changes. The Note underscores that sea level rise will not be consistent globally, is affected by coastal bathymetry and local topography and tides, while the extent of areas periodically submerged will also be affected by storm surges. It further stresses that sea level rise will have various secondary impacts, such as displacement of human populations and agricultural activities, which could have additional consequences for wetland and biodiversity loss.

STRP underscores the importance of having accurate geospatial data on boundary locations of all Ramsar Sites for use in spatial analyses that can contribute to inter alia site management planning and monitoring and climate change adaptation measures. [Ramsar Press Release] [Publication: Evaluating the Risk to Ramsar Sites from Climate Change Induced Sea Level Rise]