A Roadmap for Policy-Relevant Sea-Level Rise Research in the United Arab Emirates

Hannah Melville-Rea, Clare Eayrs, Nasser Anwahi, John A. Burt, Denise Holland, Fatin Samara, Francesco Paparella, Ahmed Hassan Al Murshidi, Maryam Rashed Al-Shehhi, David M. Holland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has a long-term policy horizon, the financial capital, and a vision for a sustainable knowledge-based economy. These characteristics uniquely situate it as a potential leader for sea-level rise research. Climate science is already growing, and at the center of the UAE's pivot toward climate research is a burgeoning concern for sea-level rise. Over 85% of the UAE's population and more than 90% of the nation's infrastructure is within a few meters of present-day sea-level. With its low-lying and shallow-sloping geography (about 35 cm per km), this high-value coastline, including the rapidly expanding cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, is particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise. Meanwhile, limited regional research and data scarcity create deep uncertainty for sea-level projections. We set out a potential roadmap for the UAE to capitalize on its strengths to create usable and relevant sea-level projections for the region. With a newly established Climate Change Research Network, the UAE government is beginning to draw together universities and research centers for “furthering effective data collection and management, and advancing policy-relevant research on climate impacts and adaptation1.” By consolidating ideas from the science community within the UAE, we identify promoters and barriers to data gathering, information sharing, science-policy communication, and funding access. Our paper 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.

Original languageBritish English
Article number670089
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
StatePublished - 22 Jul 2021


  • adaptation
  • Arabian Gulf
  • climate change
  • sea-level rise
  • United Arab Emirates


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