Assessing the impact of sea-level rise on a vulnerable coastal community in Accra, Ghana
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Climate change and its associated sea-level rise are expected to significantly affect vulnerable coastal communities. Although the extent of the impact will be localised, its assessment will adopt a monitoring approach that applies globally. The topography of the beach, the type of geological material and the level of human intervention will determine the extent of the area to be flooded and the rate at which the shoreline will move inland. Gleefe, a coastal community in Ghana, has experienced frequent flooding in recent times due to the increasing occurrence of storm surge and sea-level rise. This study used available geospatial data and field measurements to determine how the beach topography has contributed to the incidence of flooding at Gleefe. The topography is generally low-lying. Sections of the beach have elevations of around 1 m, which allows seawater to move inland during very high tide. Accelerated sea-level rise as predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will destroy homes of the inhabitants and inundate the Densu wetlands behind the beach. Destruction of infrastructure will render the inhabitants homeless, whilst flooding of the wetlands will destroy the habitats of migratory birds and some endangered wildlife species such as marine turtle. Effective adaptation measures should be adopted to protect this very important coastal environment, the ecology of the wetlands and the livelihoods of the community dwellers.