Recent research done the IPCC (2007) working groups and other organizations has sparked global concern over the possible impacts of climate change and corresponding sea level rise (SLR) upon coastal communities. In reaction studies were done (for example by Nicholls et al., 2008) to assess the vulnerability of coastal regions and get an indication of the magnitude of the potential global impacts. However, most of these studies did not address the development of climate change adaptation designs to protect the coastline. In this paper it is demonstrated how a localised coastal vulnerability assessment could guide the development of conceptual coastal protection designs in an African context.
The overall aim of this paper is the appraisal of climate adaptation measures and coastal management strategies for Durban, South Africa. This is illustrated using a case study, for a coastal section along Durban´s central beaches. The case study is an example of how the vulnerability to coastal hazards could be assessed, for different SLR scenarios and should provide guidance for developing conceptual coastal protection designs.
A recent extreme storm event indicated that significant damage can be sustained from coastal hazards in Durban under the current conditions. A 1-in-100 year storm is shown to already affect the operations of critical infrastructure under current conditions at the case study site. The projected vulnerability increases significantly for future SLR scenarios.