May 29, 2016




Beaches of the Aegean Archipelago are ecosystems of significant aesthetic, environmental and socioeconomic value, acting not only as environments of leisure, but also providing dynamic protection to the environments/infrastructure assets they front. At the same time, beach erosion is a very serious environmental threat which is expected to increase due to the projected mean sea level rise (MSLR) and extreme sea levels (ESLs) and reductions in the riverine sediment supply to coasts. Recent research suggests that a future projected mean sea level rise of 1 m, may lead to large shoreline retreats (> 50% of the maximum width) for about 97 % of the Aegean beaches. Such erosion is expected to cause significant socioeconomic impacts, as the local economies of the Aegean islands are mainly based on coastal (“Sea-Sun-Sand”) 3S tourism and lot of coastal assets/infrastructure are located immediately behind their narrow beaches (59 % of them record maximum widths < 20 m). The significance of the problem at the global and regional scale has already been recognized and several international/European legislative tools are already in force, such as the ICZM Protocol to the Barcelona Convention ( which focuses on the development of effective adaptation plans against beach erosion under a changing climate, and the 2007/60/EC Directive (the Flood Risk Directive) on the assessment and management of flood risks  ( which obligates the EU member countries to estimate the coastal flood risk and develop proper adaptation strategies. In any case, the problem of beach erosion is likely to become a defining issue for the sustainable development of the Aegean islands requiring adaptation measures that might prove to be both very expensive and politically difficult. Therefore, the development of management approaches/protocols are urgently needed that can guide the process of the efficient allocation of resources and the design of appropriate and effective technical responses under a changing climate.

Against this background, the main objective of the ERA-Beach project is to develop a generalized management protocol to assess and respond to the increased beach erosion projected for the Aegean islands under Climate Variability and Change (CV & C). This will be based on (1) assessments of beach erosion under different scenarios of long- and short-term sea level rise at the island level, using appropriate ensembles of cross-shore beach morphodynamic models; (2) detailed assessments of the beach erosion risk under sea level rise of individual beaches that have particular significance at the island level, which will be based on detailed field information collected using state-of-the-art approaches and the development/application of morphodynamic (2-D) modeling techniques; (3) design/assess appropriate and cost-effective technical adaptation measures under future scenarios of mean sea level rise and  extreme events. The ERA-BEACH project focuses on 6 Aegean islands across the Aegean (Lesvos, Chios, Thira (Santorini), Kalymnos, Agathonisi and Chalki) whose local municipalities are project partners, and implemented by scientific teams from two Academic Institutions: the University of the Aegean (Greece) and the CICERO Institute (Norway) (duration of the project: 09 February 2016 – 31 March 2017). The project is structured as shown below.


ERA Beach Partners - Funding