Chronic flooding events due to sea-level rise in French Guiana

Thiéblemont, Rémi ; Le Cozannet, Gonéri ; D'Anna, Maurizio ; Idier, Déborah ; Belmadani, Ali ; Slangen, Aimée B. A. ; Longueville, François

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<p align=justify>As sea levels are rising, the number of chronic flooding events at high tide is increasing across the world coastlines. Yet, many events reported so far either lack observational evidence of flooding, or relate to coastal areas where ground subsidence or oceanic processes often enhance climate change-induced sea-level rise (SLR). Here we present observational and modelling evidence of high-tide flooding events that are unlikely to occur without SLR in French Guiana, where sea-level rise rates are close to the global average and where there is no significant ground subsidence. In particular, on 16 October 2020, a well-documented flooding event happened in Cayenne under calm weather conditions. Our probabilistic assessment of daily maximum water levels superimposed on SLR shows that this event can be modelled and is a consequence of SLR. As sea levels will continue to rise, we show that the number, severity and extent of such high-tide flooding events will increase across several urban areas of French Guiana, with an evolution depending on the topography. As concerns are growing regarding the economic impacts and adaptation challenges of high-tide chronic events across the world, our study provides new evidence that this early impact of SLR is emerging now.</p>
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