CASE STUDIES

The Coastal Zone – The Maldives and Surfer’s Point, California

The Coastal Zone – The Maldives and Surfer’s Point, California

The Maldives

The Maldives is a chain of islands in the Indian Ocean with a total population of around 300,000. Although a beautiful place to live, the Maldives are

vulnerable to rising sea levels. No point of the islands is more than 2.5 metres (8 feet) above sea level and the average elevation is only 1.5 metres (4 feet 9 inches.) – less than the height of an average man.

Although the Maldives were protected in the past from storm surges and the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami by the coral reefs surrounding the islands, it is feared that if current rates of rising sea levels continue, by 2100 the whole country could be underwater.

The government of the Maldives is very concerned about the threat to their country and its members are pressing for more action to prevent global warming. They are also undertaking other measures, such as looking into the purchase of large amounts of land in India in case the islands have to be evacuated. However some scientists dispute whether the Maldives are under threat and say that the sea levels locally are actually receding.

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Case study: Surfer’s Point, California

The popular beach of Surfer’s Point in Ventura, California, has been eroding for several decades. Previous attempts to stop erosion, by ‘hardening’ the beach, had a n

egative impact. Now the decision has been made to allow the ocean to claim some of the beach, from which concrete barriers, asphalt, underground utilities, and riprap were removed. Around 20 metres (65