Towards a Combined Physical and Social Evaluation of Climate Vulnerability in Coastal Urban Megacities

Kantamaneni, Komali orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3852-4374, Li, Qiong, Wu, Haotian, Zhu, Mingyu, Apostolopoulou, Athanasia, Xu, Weijie, Kenawy, Inji, Rajendran, Lakshmi, Rice, Louis et al (2023) Towards a Combined Physical and Social Evaluation of Climate Vulnerability in Coastal Urban Megacities. Water, 15 (4).

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Coastal urban megacities across Asia face significant risks from climate change, including coastal flooding, high temperatures, urban heat island impacts and air pollution. These hazards are associated with negative impacts on infrastructure, communities and the environment. To identify the current intensity of climate change impacts in coastal urban megacities, an integrated evaluation method is needed. Firstly, the present study assesses the climate change impacts of Guangzhou, a Chinese coastal urban megacity, for both physical and social aspects. This study includes 60 years of time-series data for 1960–2020 to examine temperatures, precipitation, humidity and air pollution in Guangzhou city. At the same time, a survey was conducted between April and July 2022 in this megacity and collected the views of 336 people on climate change and its associated environmental impacts. Secondly, the Ganzhou city results are compared with existing data from similar nearby cities to evaluate the diverse climate change trends. Results show that during 1961-1990, the city received the most rainfall in May, reaching 283.6 mm. From 1990 to 2020, June recorded the highest rainfall of 356.6 mm and shows an increase of 73 mm during that period. The very severe monsoon season brought an increased risk of flooding. Results also revealed that the warmest month is July, and the coldest month is January, and both months showed increased temperatures of 0.60℃. Comparison results revealed that Guangzhou is not the only city which scored increased highest temperatures; other nearby cities including Heyuan, Shantou and Shaoguan also scored increased highest temperatures. The survey reveals that the majority of respondents (75%) perceived the increased frequency of extreme weather, including typhoons, heavy rainfall and multiple days of hot weather, such as higher temperatures and an increased number of hot days. In the responses to the questions related to the heat island effect, more than 80% of residents are aware of the existence of the heat island and its impacts. People believe that the primary causes of the urban heat island problem are industrial production and anthropogenic heat generated by the city. These results will be helpful to local and national policy and decision makers to revise and/or develop new strategies to improve the environment and quality of life in coastal megacities, particularly Ganzhou.

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