Contact Us  |  Search  
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research
Development, Security, and Cooperation
Policy and Global Affairs
Home About Us For Applicants For Grant Recipients Funded Projects Email Updates
Cycle 5 (2015 Deadline)

Incorporating climate change induced sea level rise information into coastal cities’ preparedness toward coastal hazards

PI: Syamsidik (, Tsunami and Disaster Mitigation Research Center, Syiah Kuala University
U.S. Partner: Louise K. Comfort, University of Pittsburgh
Project Dates: December 2016 - November 2019

Project Overview

Research has not yet identified all the impacts of climate changes on island nations like Indonesia. One of the challenges is the complexity of the available data in Indonesia. This project is aimed at combining two sets of processes—climate change-induced sea level rise and coastal hazards (coastal erosion, tsunami, and coastal flooding)—using three projected periods (30, 50, and 100 years). Climate change-induced sea level rise coupled with coastal hazards is a rarely studied topic in Indonesia. Dr. Syamsidik and his team expect that the project should produce newly developed scenarios for assessing impacts of climate change-induced sea level rise in Indonesia’s coastal cities, combining information on sea level rise (a slow process) and coastal hazards (a relatively fast process). Their work will also incorporate scientifically based policy analysis of urban development planning in order to increase the preparedness of cities in the region. In addition, this research will compare the projected impacts of sea level rise coupled with coastal hazards between two coastal cities representing the northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere of Indonesia. The impact comparisons will highlight variations resulting from geographical differences. This research will also offer examples for incorporating scientific evidence on climate change and coastal hazard impacts with techno-social approaches for disaster mitigation and climate change adaptation.

U.S. partner Dr. Comfort will assist this research team with her expertise in analyzing development planning policies. Her techno-social approach will a valuable resource for the Indonesian team. To gather input and disseminate their findings, Dr. Syamsidik and his colleagues will organize several forums for stakeholders from the national and local levels. Two policy briefings will be made to address the issue of climate change impacts and their incorporation into development planning for coastal cities in Indonesia. This research team will also produce inputs for improving university-level instruction in courses involving climate change and disaster management. Lessons learned from this research process will be used in revising the relevant course curricula at Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh and Mataram University in Mataram.

Summary of Recent Activities

In the second quarter of 2017, Dr. Syamsidik and his research team focused on several lines of activity under their project. The first involved field measurements in Banda Aceh and in Mataram. To detect the impacts of the tidal forces on surface water salinity intrusion, they conducted three sets of measurements of tidal influences on the city drainage systems, lagoon systems, and rivers. Equipment was deployed in the Krueng Aceh River, Ulee Lheue Lagoon, and around a near-shore area off Banda Aceh. To measure the beach morphology profile, the researchers have recently acquired a drone, and one research assistant was sent to Yogyakarta to attend a training course on using drone technology for topography surveys. Meanwhile, in Mataram, the team spent two months measuring nearshore bathymetric data around the Mataram coast and conducting a survey on buildings and infrastructure around the city that may be exposed to coastal hazards. This part of the project is being conducted by a research assistant from TDMRC and Mataram University researcher Dr. Eko Pradjoko.

The second major area of activity this past quarter was development of an assessment tool for coastal cities’ preparedness for coastal hazards (tsunami, coastal erosion, and coastal flooding) coupled with impacts of sea level rise. Researcher Rina Suryani Oktari has composed a draft to be used as a simulation for measuring the coastal cities’ preparedness in Banda Aceh and Mataram. The draft is expected to receive inputs from experts during a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) to be conducted at the end of July 2017.

While this work is ongoing, other team members have been focusing on numerical simulations, specifically aimed at measuring the potential impacts of sea level rise on tsunami inundation and coastal flooding in and around Banda Aceh. Once the simulations are completed, the team should be able to offer recommendations to the local, regional, and national authorities regarding possible modifications in local drainage systems and in regulations regarding coastal development.

In late April 2017, Dr. Syamsidik received word that his request for PEER supplemental funding had been granted, which will allow him to expand his project activities to Timor Leste, working in collaboration with staff from the USAID Office for South-South and Triangular Cooperation. The new PEER funds are allowing the PI to get off to a quick start June 4-11, when he and Dr. Khairul Munadi traveled to Timor Leste to conduct a needs assessment on tsunami risk reduction in the country. They met with the rector of the Universidade Nacional Timor Lorosa'e (UNTL) and officials from the Instituto Petreleo Geophysic (IPG), the Timor Leste National Disaster Management Agency (NDMC), the Ministry for Social Solidarity, and the Government of Baucau District. Despite being located in a tectonically active region, Timor Leste has little capacity for tsunami and earthquake risk reduction. The country relies on the Indonesian Meteorological Agency for tsunami warnings, as the subject is not the focus of research or instruction in the local university. Based on their needs assessment visit, the PI and his team plan to conduct a workshop on tsunami risk reduction and a short training course on tsunami numerical simulations for UNTL and IPG, and a memorandum of understanding will be signed between Syiah Kuala University and UNTL.

In the coming months, the researchers will continue their numerical simulation work focused on Mataram, conduct two FGDs (one each in Banda Aceh and Mataram), continue their GIS analysis (an area of work headed by team member Dr. Ella Meilianda), and conduct an assessment on coastal cities’ preparedness for coastal hazards coupled with sea level rise. In early August, three research assistants from the team will present their work at the International Conference IGNITE-ACCE in Penang, Malaysia. A revised paper is also being submitted to the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, following up on another paper recently published by the PI and colleagues in the journal Natural Hazards (available online at

Back to PEER Cycle 5 Grant Recipients