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Strong coasts and vulnerable communities: Potential implications of accelerated sea-level rise for Norway

Kristin Aunan, Bård Romstad

In comparison with many other countries, it appears that Norway – as a whole – will not be seriously affected by accelerated sea-level rise (ASLR). Topographical and geomorphological features, including a generally steep coastline and resistant coasts, suggest a low physical vulnerability to ASLR. For example, the south eastern coastal zone is experiencing isostatic uplift and is less exposed to extreme storm events. Nevertheless, some specific areas of Norway are highly dependent upon economic activities related to the coastal zone, which implies that the socio-economic impacts of ASLR in these areas may be significant. Of particular concern are the low-lying areas in the southwest, characterised by soft, erosive coasts. Along the western and northern coastlines, the extensive and well-developed infrastructure of roads, bridges and ferries linking cities, towns and villages is likely to be negatively affected by sea-level rise, particularly if this is concurrent with an increased risk and height of storm surges. The potential economic costs of rebuilding and relocating infrastructure and other capital assets in these regions may be considerable.

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