This documentation section includes two parts. The first is an overview of the Sea Level Rise Impacts on Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance, v1 data set. The second part, at the bottom of this page, links to six case studies that were developed in 2002 for our since-retired Ramsar Wetlands Data Gateway.
This data set and associated map client were produced in conjunction with a study conducted by CIESIN for the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) entitled "Evaluating the risk to Ramsar Sites from climate change induced sea level rise". The study sought to provide a preliminary assessment of the risk to coastal wetlands designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites) under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands from rising sea levels due to climate change. Two scenarios were evaluated, 0-1 meter sea level rise (SLR), which is close to what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts for this century, and 0-2 meter SLR, which is an upper bound for SLR in this century if land-based ice sheets respond faster than expected to temperature changes. The study recognizes that sea level rise will not be consistent globally, but is affected by coastal bathymetry and local topography and tides, while the extent of areas periodically submerged will also be affected by storm surges. There will also be many secondary impacts of sea level rise, such as the displacement of human populations and agricultural activities, which could have additional consequences for wetland and biodiversity loss. Time and resources did not permit this level of analysis globally, so the report and associated data represent a first-order risk assessment.
Users of these data are encouraged to read the full Ramsar STRP Briefing Note, which provides the methodology and the limitations of this analysis.
This data set represents the results of an analysis using the boundaries for Ramsar sites designated under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and intersecting them with different elevation zones in the coastal zone to assess area and percent area that would become inundated under 1 and 2 meter sea level rise scenarios. This data sets provides results for 1,143 sites with spatially defined boundary data (out of a universe as of the year 2010 of 1,882 Ramsar Sites), of which 613 sites were found to intersect with the 0-5m above mean sea level coastal zone. In addition to assessing the degree of risk of inundation, the data set provides data on population density and percent of land that is urban within the site and within 1km and 5km buffers surrounding the site. This gives some indication of the intensity of built up areas around the site that may impede landward migration in the event of sea level rise.
Boundary data were collected from several official and unofficial sources. Statistics were generated based on NASA Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) elevation data, SEDAC’s Global Rural Urban Mapping Project version 1 (GRUMPv1) Population Density Grid for the year 2000 (and a 2010 projection), and the GRUMPv1 Urban Extents Grid. Finally, the data set also reports on infant mortality rates within 1km and 5km buffers around the site based on an updated version of SEDAC’s Global Subnational Infant Mortality Rates with data benchmarked to 2008. This represents a proxy measure of poverty rates in the vicinity of the site (rates from 0-10 represent very low poverty, from 10-30 are moderate, from 30-60 are moderately high, and 60-80 are high, and >80 are very high), which may have a bearing on the ability of national governments or communities to adapt to sea level rise.
Ramsar Remote Sensing Case Studies
Six Ramsar remote sensing case studies were developed in 2002 as part of the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Application Center's Ramsar Wetlands Data Gateway in support of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. That web service has been discontinued but the case studies are available as follows:
- Global: Remote Sensing for Ramsar Sites
- Global: Ramsar Theme of the Treaty Enforcement Services Using Earth Observation (TESEO) Project, European Space Agency (ESA)
- Argentina: Esteros del Ibera
- Pantanal Tri-National GIS and Remote Sensing Pilot Project Case Studyfor Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay
- South Africa: uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park and the National Wetlands Inventory
- USA: Connecticut River Estuary and Tidal River Wetlands Complex