The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports reflect evolving attitudes in adapting to sea-level rise by taking a systems approach and recognizing that multiple responses exist to achieve a less hazardous coast.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1.

    et al. in IPCC Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability (eds Field, C. et al.) Ch. 5 (IPCC, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2014).

  2. 2.

    Nat. Hazards 66, 1363–1382 (2013).

  3. 3.

    , & in Climate Change: The IPCC Impacts Assessment (eds Tegart, W. J. McG., Sheldon, G. W. & Griffiths, D. C.) 6.1–6.28 (Australia Government Publishing Service, 1990).

  4. 4.

    et al. in Climate Change 1995: Impacts, Adaptations, and Mitigation of Climate Change: Scientific-Technical Analyses (eds Watson, R. T., Zinyowera, M. C. & Moss, R. H.) 289–324 (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1996).

  5. 5.

    et al. in Climate Change 2001: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability (eds McCarthy, J. J., Canziani, O. F., Leary, N. A., Dokken, D. J. & White, K. S.) 343–380 (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2001)

  6. 6.

    et al. in Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability (eds Parry, M. L., Canziani, O. F., Palutikof, J. P., van der Linden, P. J. & Hanson, C. E.) 315–356 (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2007).

  7. 7.

    & Estuar. Coast. Shelf Sci. 140, 123–133 (2014).

  8. 8.

    et al. in Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability (eds Barros, V. R. et al.) Ch. 29 (IPCC, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2014).

  9. 9.

    & Dilemmas in a general theory of planning. Policy Sci. 4, 155–169 (1973).

  10. 10.

    in Climate: Global Change and Local Adaptation (eds Linkov, I. & Bridges, T. S.) 157–168 (Springer, 2011).

  11. 11.

    , & Annu. Rev. Environ. Resour. 37, 51–78 (2012).

  12. 12.

    et al. in Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis (eds Stocker, T. F. et al.) 1137–1216 (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2013).

  13. 13.

    (ed.) Groundwater and Subsurface Environments: Human Impacts in Asian Coastal Cities (Springer, 2011).

  14. 14.

    The Scandal of Father Brown (Cassell & Co., 1935).

  15. 15.

    , & EURO J. Decision Process. 1, 233–262 (2013).

Download references


The authors developed this contribution at a workshop funded by the Worldwide Universities Network hosted by the University of Southampton, UK, with subsequent writing funded by the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme's collaborative project RISES-AM-(contract FP7-ENV-2013-two-stage-603396).

Author information


  1. Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton, University Road, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK

    • Sally Brown
    • , Robert J. Nicholls
    • , Susan Hanson
    • , Attila N. Lázár
    • , Kenneth Pye
    •  & Barend van Maanen
  2. Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Southampton, University Road, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK

    • Sally Brown
    • , Robert J. Nicholls
    • , Susan Hanson
    • , Ivan D. Haigh
    • , Attila N. Lázár
    •  & Emma L. Tompkins
  3. Department of Oceanography, University of Cape Town, Private Bag X3, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa

    • Geoff Brundrit
  4. Geography and Environment, University of Southampton, University Road, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK

    • John A. Dearing
    •  & Emma L. Tompkins
  5. School of Environment, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand

    • Mark E. Dickson
  6. Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton, National Oceanography Centre, European Way, Southampton SO14 3ZH, UK

    • Shari L. Gallop
    • , Ivan D. Haigh
    •  & Kenneth Pye
  7. Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Coast and Island Development, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China

    • Shu Gao
  8. Adaptation and Social Learning, Global Climate Forum e.V., Neue Promenade 6, 10178 Berlin, Germany

    • Jochen Hinkel
  9. Laboratori d'Enginyeria Marítima, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, BarcelonaTech, c/Jordi Girona 1-3, Campus Nord ed D1, Barcelona 08034, Spain

    • José A. Jiménez
    •  & Agustín Sánchez-Arcilla
  10. Stockholm Environment Institute, Box 24218, Linnégatan 87D, 104 51 Stockholm, Sweden

    • Richard J. T. Klein
  11. Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research, Linköping University, 601 74 Norrköping, Sweden

    • Richard J. T. Klein
  12. Geo Risks Research, Munich Reinsurance Company, Koeniginstrasse 107, 80791 Munich, Germany

    • Wolfgang Kron
  13. Ocean Engineering Department — COPPE, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Caixa Postal 68508, Rio de Janeiro 21949-900, Brazil

    • Claudio Freitas Neves
  14. Centre for Marine and Environmental Research (CIMA), University of Algarve, Gambelas Campus, Faro 8005-139, Portugal

    • Alice Newton
  15. Department of Environmental Impacts and Economics (IMPEC), Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Box 100, 2027 Kjeller, Norway

    • Alice Newton
  16. NILU-IMPEC, Box 100, 2027 Kjeller, Norway

    • Alice Newton
  17. School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering and University of Western Australia Oceans Institute, Mailstop MO15, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, Western Australia 6009, Australia

    • Charitha Pattiaratachi
  18. Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QY, UK

    • Andres Payo
  19. Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Wills Memorial Building, Queens Road, Bristol BS1 5JU, UK

    • Mark Siddall
  20. Ministry of Environment and Energy, Green Building, Handhuvaree Hingun, Maafannu, Malé 20392, Republic of Maldives

    • Ali Shareef
  21. Coastal Risks and Sea-Level Rise Research Group, Future Ocean Excellence Cluster, Institute of Geography, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Ludewig-Meyn-Str. 14, Kiel 24098, Germany

    • Athanasios T. Vafeidis
  22. Institute for Environmental Studies, VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1087, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands

    • Philip J. Ward
  23. School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales 2522, Australia

    • Colin D. Woodroffe


  1. Search for Sally Brown in:

  2. Search for Robert J. Nicholls in:

  3. Search for Susan Hanson in:

  4. Search for Geoff Brundrit in:

  5. Search for John A. Dearing in:

  6. Search for Mark E. Dickson in:

  7. Search for Shari L. Gallop in:

  8. Search for Shu Gao in:

  9. Search for Ivan D. Haigh in:

  10. Search for Jochen Hinkel in:

  11. Search for José A. Jiménez in:

  12. Search for Richard J. T. Klein in:

  13. Search for Wolfgang Kron in:

  14. Search for Attila N. Lázár in:

  15. Search for Claudio Freitas Neves in:

  16. Search for Alice Newton in:

  17. Search for Charitha Pattiaratachi in:

  18. Search for Andres Payo in:

  19. Search for Kenneth Pye in:

  20. Search for Agustín Sánchez-Arcilla in:

  21. Search for Mark Siddall in:

  22. Search for Ali Shareef in:

  23. Search for Emma L. Tompkins in:

  24. Search for Athanasios T. Vafeidis in:

  25. Search for Barend van Maanen in:

  26. Search for Philip J. Ward in:

  27. Search for Colin D. Woodroffe in:

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sally Brown.

About this article

Publication history



Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing