Climate change and forseeable impacts on coastal zones in Turkey

ALPAR Ş. B. , Burak S. , Gazioğlu C.

General Assambly of European Geosciences Union, France, 1 - 04 April 2004

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Country: France


Global sea level rise is expected to vary between 15cm and 88cm in 2100, the best
estimate being 44cm as predicted in the IGCP third assessment report published in
2001. This means that the rate of sea level rise would be three times higher than its
value of 1.5 mm /year as accepted for the XXth century. Coastal aquifers prone to
salinization would be highly affected due to sea water intrusion and where land is
subsiding the sea-level rise will be faster resulting in a corresponding exacerbated
adverse impact.
Mediterranean coastal areas are heavily populated in general and TurkeyŠs Mediterranean
coasts are no exception. Coastal cities in Turkey have naturally developed
as being suitable for industrial, commercial and tourism activities, in particular, in
the Mediterranean for the climatic and socio-economic attractiveness of the region.
As of today, Turkish coastal zones constitute approximately 30% of the total land
whereas the coastal and related hinterland population constitutes 51% of the total 65
million on the average. The share of the Mediterranean coast of Turkey reaches a
constant population ratio corresponding to more than 20% of the total according to
the latest census in 2000 with an increase of three to ten-fold in population figures
for the summer months. Unfortunately the attractive Mediterranean coastal zones are
not water rich areas complying with the required demand. Therefore water has been
supplied mostly from ground water and in excessive amounts to satisfy the demand of
the newly developed settlements, lowering the water table and resulting in sea water
intrusion in most of the coastal aquifers.
At present, a national policy considering the climate change impact on long-term
water resources planning is missing in the management tools with regard to vulnerable
and sensitive zones such as wetland protection, aquatic ecosystems for which coastal
zones are hosting regions. Bearing in mind that climate change is an emerging
issue it may have serious consequences and irreversible impacts it will be of utmost
importance to predict the climate change impacts on coastal zones covering coastal
aquifers and aquatic ecosystems and introduce adaptive and long-term strategies into
the legislation to cope with sustainable development objectives.