PhD: Modelling coastal migration under sea level rise and environmental degradation
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU Amsterdam), , Netherlands
Apply before: 19 June 2022

Job description

Future sea level rise, extreme flood events, and urbanization pressure will increase coastal flood risk. Without costly flood protection measures in many regions, millions of coastal residents will be forced to move to safer locations. Plus, cliffs and sandy beaches will erode due to sea level rise, which decreases the living area for coastal residents. It will also increase the salinity of inland fresh water at the coast, lowering drinking water quality and crop production. In this way, future coastal erosion and salt intrusion will affect socio-economic conditions of coastal communities and increase migration flows.

This PhD project is part of the COASTMOVE programme. You study the adaptation behaviour of global coastal residents and other agents, such as governments. You also look at their responses to sea level rise, how they interact, and study the related impacts we mentioned. For this, we are developing a global agent-based model (ABM). This model simulates how sea level rise and related environmental degradation affects the conditions of coastal inhabitants, and if they adapt or move to safer locations.

The focus of this project is on the effects of environmental factors related to sea-level rise: coastal flooding, erosion, salt intrusion. But also on other socio-economic and demographic drivers which play an important role in migration processes. In your research, you integrate data on all these drivers (physical and socio-economic) and quantify how they affect migration behaviour between 2020 and 2100.

In your research, you will first upscale our newly developed ABM recently developed for two countries (France and the U.S) using global data and data from surveys in different countries. Next, you will extend this model with two new modules on coastal erosion and saltwater intrusion. For this, you work closely with Deltares and other organisations to derive (future) projections of erosion and saltwater intrusion. You work in a team with four other PhDs with different backgrounds, who all work on the same model and data.

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Of interest for:
  • Coastal Working Group