Sealevel Rise and the Coastal Lowlands in the Developing World


  • S. Jelgersma
  • M. Van der Zijp
  • R. Brinkman


Eustasy, nearshore lands, coastal wetlands, delta, mangroves, land subsidence


About two hundred low-lying coastal areas in the developing world were characterized in terms of a range of variables influencing the nature of the effects on each area of a gradual eustatic sealevel rise. The areas were clustered with weightings emphasizing the variables considered most important, and a brief description of the probable effects was given for one area from each of the main clusters. This paper summarizes processes affecting low-lying coastal areas, methods of characterization and clustering, and reports descriptions for examples from three clusters. A sealevel rise does not only affect the coastline and the structures along it, but may also change the hydrology, the soils and the natural vegetation or the potential for agriculture over an appreciable distance inland. The nature and extent of these changes depends on, for example, the length of the dry season, the sediment supply from rivers, and the incidence of tropical cyclones. The basic tabular data set and the transformed one used for clustering are available from the third author for reanalysis on the basis of improvements in data, knowledge or insight. The maps are being entered into a geographic information system and should in due course be available in digital form.