The paper is the first academic output from the UAE Climate Change Research Network, established by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, and provides recommendations on key challenges for sea level science including policy coordination, data collection, and funding.
Titled A roadmap for policy-relevant sea-level rise research in the United Arab Emirates published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science, the paper lays out a potential roadmap for the UAE to capitalize on its strengths to create relevant sea-level projections for the region, which includes several coastal cities that are similarly vulnerable to rising sea levels.
By consolidating ideas from scientists within the UAE, the paper identifies promoters and barriers to data gathering, information sharing, science-policy communication, and funding access. Furthermore, it proposes pathways forward for the UAE to integrate sea-level science with coastal development and form best practices that can be scaled across climate science and throughout the region.
Some of the paper’s key findings include:
- Despite the UAE being susceptible to flooding from sea level rise, with over 85 percent of the population and more than 90 percent of infrastructure within several meters of present-day sea level, it is very well positioned to lead scientific advancement for climate adaptation due to its long-term policy horizon, financial capital, and vision for a sustainable knowledge-based economy.
- The single most important step for developing accurate flood projections is overcoming the Arabian Gulf’s data gap for ocean, land, and atmospheric measurements.
- Universities can drive cost-effective science by sharing equipment, connecting with private sector funders, and participating in multinational expeditions.
- Establishing an Antarctic research program would make the UAE the first in the region to grapple with the core uncertainties, driving global sea level change.
Lead author and researcher at NYUAD’s Center for Global Sea Level Change Hannah Melville-Rea said: “The UAE is no stranger to investing in ambitious science, as seen by our success in space exploration. Bridging the Arabian Gulf's data gaps will increase our ability to prepare for sea level rise and safeguard our high-value coastline and communities."
“Building trust between government and the research community is a key recommendation of our paper,” said co-author and Co-Chair of the UAE Climate Change Research Network Fatin Samara. “This collaboration demonstrates how the newly established Climate Change Research Network provides a strategic platform for scientists to jointly pursue policy-relevant climate research.”
“The UAE is poised to be the leader in advancing our understanding and ability to project global sea level rise. Investing in Arctic and Antarctic science efforts, such as those carried out by the Center for Global Sea Level Change at NYUAD, will only lead to greater success in protecting our coastlines,” added co-author and Professor of Mathematics and Climate Science David Holland.