Indicator Specification

Coastal areas

Indicator Specification
  Indicator codes: CLIM 041
Published 08 Sep 2008 Last modified 09 Feb 2021
4 min read
This page was archived on 08 May 2015 with reason: No more updates will be done
Modelled number of people flooded across Europe's coastal areas in 1961-1990 and in the 2080s

This indicator is discontinued because data availability does not fully meet the requirements for EEA indicators.

Updated information on this topic is available in Sections 3.2, 4.4.3 and 5.5.2 of the EEA Report No 12/2012 (

Required information is not filled in: Information about the starting date of the publishing schedule is missing.

Assessment versions

Published (reviewed and quality assured)
  • No published assessments


Justification for indicator selection

Climate change is an additional pressure and, as shown by the PESETA project on the effects of climate change on European coastal systems, is likely to have significant impacts on coastal zones, particularly through sea-level rise and changes in the frequency and/or intensity of extreme weather events, such as storms and associated surges. Coastal zones in Europe contain large human populations and significant socio-economic activities. They also support diverse ecosystems that provide important habitats and sources of food. One third of the EU population is estimated to live within 50 km of the coast, and some 140 000 km2 of land is currently within 1 m of sea level. Significantly inhabited coastal areas in countries such as the Netherlands, England, Denmark, Germany and Italy are already below normal high-tide levels, and more extensive areas are prone to flooding from storm surges. There are estimates of the physical impacts and economic costs to coasts in Europe from sea-level rise and flooding storm events. Results using the DIVA database and model produced from the DINAS-COASTS DG research project (DINAS-COAST Consortium) have been developed for Europe in the PESETA project.
However, there are many possible adaptation measures that can minimise the impacts of sea-level rise and would have significant benefits (including soft measures) such as: coastal defences (e.g. physical barriers to flooding and coastal erosion such as dikes and flood barriers); realignment of coastal defences landwards; abandonment (managed or unmanaged); measures to reduce the energy of near-shore waves and currents; coastal morphological management; and resilience-building strategies. Despite some difficulties in estimation, there is an increasing literature reporting the direct costs of adaptation to sea-level rise and estimating optimal levels of protection based on cost-benefit analysis.
Recent work (OECD, 2008) has also looked at threats to current and future major coastal cities from sea-level rise (0.5 metres global average) and storm surges.

Scientific references

  • No rationale references available

Indicator definition

  • Modelled number of people flooded across Europe's coastal areas in 1961-1990 and in the 2080s



Policy context and targets

Context description

In April 2009 the European Commission presented a White Paper on the framework for adaptation policies and measures to reduce the European Union's vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. The aim is to increase the resilience to climate change of health, property and the productive functions of land, inter alia by improving the management of water resources and ecosystems. More knowledge is needed on climate impact and vulnerability but a considerable amount of information and research already exists which can be shared better through a proposed Clearing House Mechanism. The White Paper stresses the need to mainstream adaptation into existing and new EU policies. A number of Member States have already taken action and several have prepared national adaptation plans. The EU is also developing actions to enhance and finance adaptation in developing countries as part of a new post-2012 global climate agreement expected in Copenhagen (Dec. 2009). For more information see:


No targets have been specified

Related policy documents

No related policy documents have been specified



Methodology for indicator calculation

Methodology for gap filling

Methodology references

No methodology references available.


Data specifications

EEA data references

  • No datasets have been specified here.

External data references

Data sources in latest figures



Methodology uncertainty

Data sets uncertainty

Rationale uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Further work

Short term work

Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.

Long term work

Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.

General metadata

Responsibility and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Hans-Martin Füssel


European Environment Agency (EEA)


Indicator code
CLIM 041
Version id: 1


DPSIR: Impact
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)


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