Coastal Risks and Sea-Level Rise Research Group
Barbara Neumann studied Geography at Saarland University (Saarbrücken, Germany) and at Simon Fraser University (B.C., Canada). She received her doctorate in Geography from Saarland University in 2002. Thereafter, she conducted several applied research projects at the Department of Geography in Saarbrücken and worked as freelance consultant. In 2010, Barbara Neumann joined the Coastal Risks and Sea-Level Rise Research Group in the Department of Geography at Kiel University and the Cluster of Excellence "The Future Ocean" as postdoctoral research associate. She is further affiliated with the interdisciplinary centre Kiel Marine Science at Kiel University and with the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS) at the University of Wollongong, Australia. Since June 2017, Barbara Neumann has been research associate with the Ocean Governance team at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam.”
Barbara has expertise in social-ecological systems analysis, exposure analysis and sustainability research with respect to coastal regions and the coastal zone, including impacts of sea-level rise. She combines GIS-based modelling and analysis techniques and social science research methods. In recent projects, Barbara studied the exposure of coastal population to impacts of climate change (i.e. sea-level rise) and explored the effects of sea-level rise on maritime boundaries.
In her current project on "Coastal Sustainability and Governance" Barbara aims at developing an analytical framework to assess and compare coastal regions in terms of sustainability and governance. The project is funded by the Cluster of Excellence "The Future Ocean" and linked to the Cluster’s research topic area R01 Our common Future Ocean.
Dr. Barbara Neumann
Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
+49 (0)431 880 5319
A social-ecological systems approach to assessing coastal sustainability and governance at regional to global scales.
This project focuses on issues of sustainability and governance of coastal regions, also considering socio-environmental and climate change. The aim is to develop a comprehensive framework that allows assessing the state of coasts as “social-ecological systems”, and to inform about deficits and gaps in terms of sustainability and governance in the coastal zone. The research approaches includes methods of participatory knowledge production and modelling as well as GIS-based spatial and multi-criteria-analyses to implement and test the framework at case study level.
In this project, which had been commissioned by the UK Government as contribution to its Foresight Project on Migration and Global Environmental Change, we took a global look at people living in the low-elevation coastal zone (LECZ) and the 100-year floodplain at current by 2030 and 2060. The assessments and projections were carried out through geospatial analysis of publicly available global data and by employing scenarios of sea-level rise and socio-economic development. Global-scale spatial datasets on land elevation (SRTM30 Enhanced Global Map, GETOPO30), population distribution (GRUMP Alpha), urban extent (MODIS 500-m Map of Global Urban Extent) and others were combined with national-scale demographic data of the United Nations on population growth and urbanization (World Population Prospects, World Urbanization Prospects). Based on the different socio-economic scenarios, assumptions on future coastal population growth were implemented through specific coastal correction factors in order to derive future population projections, differentiating between urban and non-urban as well as coastal and inland population growth. As a result of this study, we developed new baseline data on future coastal populations in the LECZ and in the 100-year floodplain from national to summarized regional, continental and global levels which highlighting regions of high coastal growth and exposure to sea-level rise and flooding.
For more detailed information on the assessments, employed data sets and methodologies, and results, we refer to the following publications:
NEUMANN, B., VAFEIDIS, A.T., ZIMMERMANN, J. and R.J. NICHOLLS (2015): Future Coastal Population Growth and Exposure to Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Flooding - A Global Assessment. In: PLoS ONE 10(3):e0118571.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0118571
BROWN, S., NICHOLLS, R.J., WOODROFFE, C.D., HANSON, S., HINKEL, J., KEBEDE, A.S., NEUMANN, B. and A.T. VAFEIDIS (2013): Sea-level rise impact and responses: A global perspective. In: Finkl C. (Ed) Coastal Hazards. Coastal Research Library, Vol. 6, Springer-Verlag, pp. 117-150.
This study looked at one of the less studied consequences of sea-level rise: The effect of sea-level rise on the delimitation of maritime zones such as the Exclusive Economic Zone in which a state has exclusive economic rights over all resources. Retreating coastlines due to submergence and coastal erosion of low-lying coastal areas or territorial islands may significantly alter the baseline which is used for determining a coastal state’s legal zones in the ocean. This may lead to profound changes in the extent of the maritime zones and in the maritime delimitations between states with opposite or adjacent coasts, and induce new conflicts over natural resources or intensify tensions in regions where maritime boundaries are already disputed.
The case studies revealed how critical the changes of environmental conditions – here the impending sea-level rise - can be in terms of the legal delimitation of coastal states’ maritime boundaries and that extreme legal uncertainty is connected with these changes. The retreating coastline may not only cause profound impacts on maritime boundary delimitation, but also on rights and obligations in regard to natural resources located in the maritime boundaries such as the Exclusive Economic Zones.
HOUGHTON, K.J., VAFEIDIS, A.T., NEUMANN, B. and A. PROELSS (2010): Maritime boundaries in a rising sea. In: Nature Geoscience 3(12), S. 813-816.
Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS), University of Wollongong, Australia
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