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Nigeria: Sea-Level Rise and Impacts in Africa, 2000 to 2100. Application of the DIVA model to Africa.

View of Lagos. Image ©

Impacts of sea-level rise in Nigeria

Nigeria’s coast is 850km long and comprises (from west to east) a barrier-lagoon coast (250km), a mud coast (75km), the Niger delta (440km) and a sandy coast (85km). One quarter of the population (of 100 million in 2000) live in the coastal zone (Folorunsho and Awosika, 2000). 85% of the country’s industry is based in the coastal zone, chiefly in the oil and gas industry. A 1m of sea-level rise by 2100, assuming no human response, would threaten 18,000km2 and 3.2 million people would be at risk from flooding, currently costing US$18 billion (French et al., 1995). These estimates are based on 1992 population. Protection by hard and soft measures would reduce this risk, but would be costly. For instance, protecting highly developed areas and oil infrastructure from a 1m sea-level rise would, alone, cost US$600-US$700 million. This cost, spread over 50 year (a not unreasonable time scale given sea-level rise projections, and design guidelines for hard structures anticipating future conditions), would cost 0.2-0.3% of the county’s GDP. A 1m sea-level rise would make over 800 villages uninhabitable in the Niger delta, at a cost of US$260million (French et al., 1995).

Coastal erosion is already a major problem, and climate change will exacerbate this (Folorunsho and Awosika, 2000). Wetlands and mangrove swamps are extensive along the coast of the Niger delta, and can extend 50km inland and lie up to 2m above present sea level. With sea-level rise there would be the potential loss of 17,000km2 of wetlands, in addition to the inundation and erosion of barrier systems along the western coast of the country (French et al., 1995; Folorunsho and Awosika, 2000).

Lagos, the former capital is one of the biggest cities in the world and continues to grow rapidly (e.g. Nicholls, 1995; Nicholls et al., 2008). It is expanding in low-lying coastal areas including Victoria Island where there are no detailed assessments, it is highly threatened by sea-level rise

Suggested citation

Brown, S., Kebede, A.S., and Nicholls, R.J. (2011). Sea-Level Rise and Impacts in Africa, 2000 to 2100. University of Southampton, UK, 215pp

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