American Society of Civil Engineers

Coastal Vulnerability to Sea Level Rise on Tahiti Island, French Polynesia

by Brice Anselme, (University of Paris-Panthéon-Sorbonne and UMR-CNRS 8586, 2 rue Valette, 75005 Paris, France E-mail: and Frederic Bessat, (East-West Center, 1601 East-West Road, Honolulu, 96848-1601, Hawaii, and University of Paris-Sorbonne E-mail:
Section: Sea Level Rise, pp. 38-49, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Solutions to Coastal Disasters 2008
Abstract: The Pacific islands region faces increasing environmental and socioeconomic pressures exacerbated by global climate change and climate variability. Adaptation to climate change and variability is ultimately an issue of sustainable development. Even without climate change, Pacific island countries are already severely affected by climate variability and extremes, and they remain extremely vulnerable to future changes in the regional climate that could increase the risks. Climate-related risks are not new to Pacific islands local government planners and resource and hazard managers. Climate change will, by and large, not create new risks, but may change the frequency and intensity of existing risks and hazards, as well as introducing some long-term shifts in climate regimes across the country. Adapting to long-term climate change will also contribute to our resilience to natural fluctuations of sea level. Planning to address the effects of climate change is most likely to be effective and cost-efficient if it is integrated into local government’s standard work programme, rather than treated in isolation. Based on GIS and on cell by cell spatial modelling techniques and survey investigations, our study aims at assessing coastal vulnerability to sea level rise on Tahiti island, French Polynesia.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Coastal environment
Sea level