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Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CoCliCo (COASTAL CLIMATE CORE SERVICES)

Reporting period: 2021-09-01 to 2023-02-28

Problem addressed by the project:
We are currently observing the first impacts of sea-level rise. These impacts take the form of chronic flooding in some subsiding areas such as Venice in Italy or the eastern coast of the United States. They also affect extreme water levels during storms, as they are rising consistently with mean sea-level changes, favouring coastal flooding.
In the coming three decades, global mean sea levels will rise by approximately 20cm, that is, as much as since the late 19th century. Later during the 21st century, the rate and magnitude of sea level changes will depend on future greenhouse gas emissions and the velocity of ice-sheet melting. In addition, other changes such as subsidence or affecting waves, surges and extreme water levels can ultimately increase flooding hazards in Europe.
Sea-level rise is a very specific adaptation problem: unlike temperatures and precipitations, sea levels will not stop rising once climate change has been stabilized at a specific global warming level (e.g. 1.5°C or 2°C, as per the Paris Agreement). On the contrary, sea levels will continue rising for centuries. By mitigating climate change, we can stabilise sea-level rise rates, but not sea levels themselves. Consequently, adaptation to coastal flooding and erosion will be continuously ongoing for decades and centuries.

Why is the problem important to society:
The latest IPCC report has reminded that costs of sea level rise impacts in Europe are projected to increase by a factor of at least 10 during the 21st century. The literature published so far suggests that protection is cost-efficient along most urbanised coasts, but for many rural low-lying coastal areas, a choice will need to be made between protection and some relocation associated with restoration of coastal ecosystems. Such choices have long term social legacies, and whatever the final choice made, there will be a need for climate services informing decision makers about the consequences of their choices, in terms of costs, people exposed and other potential co-benefits and trade-offs (see Policy Brief produced during the 1st review period).
Climate services are being developed rapidly in Europe, e.g. through national services and the European Copernicus Earth Observation programme. Yet, the uptake of climate services in Europe is limited by the lack of perceived usefulness, the lack of expertise to use the information, the mismatch between needs and information made available, the insufficient engagement with users and the lack of business models to sustain climate services over time (see the 6th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Working Group II, Chapter 13 – Europe). These barriers need to be addressed.

Overall project objectives:
CoClico and more broadly all projects contributing to coastal adaptation within Climate Change Mission of the European Commission are addressing these barriers and gaps. In the specific case of CoCliCo, the project is therefore organised around three pillars: user interactions (WP1), platform design (WP2) and production of new data allowing to assess coastal flood risks (WP3-6) (Figure 1).
The objective of CoCliCo is to improve decision making on coastal risk management and adaptation by establishing an integrated core service dedicated to coastal adaptation to sea-level rise. The main deliverable will be an open source platform informing users on present-days and future coastal risks.
In the area of coastal flooding, existing platform generally display areas located below high-tides or a particular extreme water level (e.g. centennial storm) (see D1.1 and D2.2 produced during this first review period). However, these areas may be flooded or not depending on future adaptation measures, including protection or relocation. Both adaptation options come with costs and trade-offs for people, economic activities and coastal ecosystems that are site specific. However, we are lacking climate services today allowing to explore the impacts of these different pathways in Europe. Our fast-track platform, developed within WP2, materializes the CoCliCo vision of an open web-platform distributing authoritative data in a FAIR way.

User interactions was identified from the beginning as a key criterion of success for the project (see WP1). During this first review period, we engaged with a number of users and more specifically with champion users concerned with the implementation of the flood directive, cities and towns adaptation and coastal infrastructures. This has resulted in identifying user priorities and developing rich user narratives.

To ensure the consistency of pre-cooked data presented on the platform, we needed to establish a set of Integrated Scenarios (D2.2) providing the general framework for all work-packages producing marine and climate data (WP3), flood and erosion data layers (WP4), vulnerability and exposure datasets (WP5) and adaptation and risk models and data (WP6). Taking the decision on these integrated scenarios has taken longer than planned, but this allowed extensive discussion between partners, especially at our first project meeting in Orléans in October 2022. This has allowed early discussions on the integration of the project to take place, and provides a strong basis for delivering a consistent and sound set of scenarios upon which European decision makers will be able to rely.

Finally, the kick-off of the project took place during the early stage of this first periodic report. We first established working arrangements such as the Teams (to exchange data and documents) and Flexx (to validate and approve deliverables), monthly Executive Committee Meetings, biannual Plenary meetings. We also developed communication material, including a video explaining the project and a data management plan precising in particular how data should be prepared to feed the platform and a communication, dissemination and exploitation plan describing these activities, especially our long term plan to transfer our TRL6 platform to Copernicus to reach TRL9 after the end of the project.

We established connections with the SCORE project, especially within WP1, and benefited from the advice of an External Advisory Board, made of world experts in the area of coastal risk assessments and adaptation. This helped us feed the Fast-Track platform with state of the art data produced by Michalis Vousdoukas (Joint Research Center), and to identify potential collaborations and dissemination means once the platform is ready.
A major innovation of CoCliCo at the level of the project will be to deliver a platform that not only displays areas exposed to coastal flooding, but also informs about risks and adaptation options.

The activities of CoCliCo are implemented in the view of achieving the following impacts:
- Enhanced adaptive capacity
- Reduced vulnerability to climate change
- Enhanced action on adaptation
- Strengthened scientific knowledge on climate
- Better informed climate services and decision-making

The expected environmental and societal impacts of CoCliCo relate to:
o Sustainable Development Goals: SDG-9, SDG-11, SDG-13
o Adaptation objectives of the Paris Agreement,
o Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction,
o European Green Deal and the European Adaptation Strategy.
At this stage of the project, the environmental and societal impact is limited to raising awareness across users.
Logo of the CoCliCo Project