Assessment and validation of the sea level rise threat to Grande Riviere, Trinidad

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Department of Geomatics Engineering and Land Management, University of the West Indies
Grande Riviere is a coastal community that lies at that backshore of the Grande Riviere beach on the Northern coastline of Trinidad. This beach is famous for the sight-seeing of leatherback turtles that visit every year to nest on the beach. It is a very important tourist attraction and as a result has built a thriving economy for the community of Grande Riviere. Of recent, Sea Level Rise (SLR) as a result of climate change has been the topic of investigative reports especially along the coastlines of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). This report entails a study done on the coastline of Grande Riviere in order to assess the impact of SLR on the beach and consequently the nesting of leatherback turtles on the beach. Both primary and secondary data was collected in terms of beach profiles from previous years and a beach profile was done for the current year. Datasets were also collected. All data were processed and Arc Map and Arc Scene were used to illustrate the data in a form of a map. A polygon was digitized for each map using an elevation of 0.4m which would fall into the IPCC’s category 1 of their sea level rise scenarios. The polygons that were digitized were used to analyze the area of the beach that would be impacted by the 0.4m rise in sea level. In addition, line graphs were also created and analyzed in order to get an assessment of the profile of the beach over time. Once the results were analyzed and compared, a conclusion in terms of the impact of sea level rise of 0.4m on the beach was drawn. The area found common to all polygons that will definitely be impacted upon by a 0.4m rise in sea level was found to be 1119.7m2 and a conclusion was also drawn that this rise in sea level will impact the shoreline by accretion and erosion. It was found that the ideal habitat for the nesting of the leatherback turtles may be damaged after some time as the form of the beach is likely to change. As a result, the turtles may find an alternative nesting area which would consequently devastate the thriving economy of the community of Grande Riviere.
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