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Adaptation to sea-level rise and climate change in Bangladesh

Submitted by Ruth Butterfield 7th June 2013 14:16


The city of Khulna in South-western Bangladesh suffers from frequent inundation due to high intensity rainfall events, ©Ludwig.

Bangladesh is particularly vulnerable due to the combination of different impacts. Global warming causes sea level rise and increased rainfall variability. Also the runoff patterns of the major river systems will change. Initial scenarios indicate that the peak flows will increase and that low flows will reduce. Climate change will also affect extreme events such as cyclones.

Higher river flows and sea level rise will increase future flood duration and severity. The combination of reduced dry-season flows and sea level rise can potentially cause large scale increase in salt water intrusion. This will result in reduced fresh water availability which affects drinking water quality and agricultural production. 

Key activities

The EC FP7 IMPACT2C project will develop a modelling framework which integrates the impacts of sea level rise, changes in climate, and hydrology on different climate sensitive sectors in Bangladesh. Macro-scale hydrological models will be used to generate scenarios for discharge of the Ganges- Brahmaputra river systems. These will be linked with regional models and sea level rise scenarios to assess flood risks, salinity, water availability and subsequent impacts on the different sectors such as agriculture, fisheries and water resources. 


Interface of river models and GIS (MIKE-GIS) will simulate flooding scenarios under climate change for different flood classifications – shown here is an example for the 1998 floods.

Adapting to climate change

Due to its high vulnerability, Bangladesh will have to adapt to climate change even under a 2 degree scenario. Based on the impact assessments a selection of the most vulnerable sectors will be done. For these sectors and regions the main adaptation options will be identified and evaluated. The evaluation of adaptation options will specifically focus on cross-sectoral analyses. The different adaptation options will be discussed with stakeholders and experts during a final workshop in Bangladesh.