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 2020

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

5-395 Coastal Monitoring5-395 Banda Aceh Survey
The team conducted a series of activities in Banda Aceh including resident surveys and coastal dynamic monitoring (photos courtesy of Dr. Syamsidik)
In his annual report in November 2019, PI Dr. Syamsidik highlighted several key achievements over this third year of the project. Regarding the research aspects, in addition to collating and analyzing 900 survey questionnaires on coastal hazard mitigation collected in Banda Aceh, Mataram, and Ambon, the team also completed a resilience assessment in Ambon. This involved several in-depth interviews with stakeholders, including government and non-government institutions, with the focus being on identifying Ambon’s resiliency to coastal hazards coupled with impacts of climate change-induced sea-level rise. Most of the informants mentioned that existing local policies had not specifically targeted coastal hazards. Based on the interviews, the researchers noted several conditions that could further aggravate the vulnerability of Ambon’s coastal areas to disasters and the effects of climate change, including the amount of coastal reclamation, the absence of shoreline area regulations, and the presence of informal settlements near rivers and the bay area. Now the aim is to work with stakeholders to address these situations and improve the community’s resilience, an effort that involves USAID’s Climate Change Adaptation Program for Maluku (APIK USAID) and two local partner NGOs.

Meanwhile, the PI and his colleagues continued other efforts to engage relevant organizations in the city of Banda Aceh by conducting interviews. They used the data obtained to strengthen the results of their numerical analysis and hone their resilience assessments. From the spring through the fall of 2019, the team worked closely with a task force created by order of the Mayor of Banda Aceh to prepare a document outlining mitigation strategy on tsunami and coastal flooding amplified by sea-level rise. This document was officially presented to the Mayor and released to the public on January 21, 2020. A similar document for Mataram city is now being edited and will be released in book format around mid-March 2020. The mayors of Banda Aceh and Mataram have expressed their interest and commitment to use the research results and recommendations as official documents for their cities in managing coastal hazards. The documents will also be uploaded on the cities’ official websites.

The PI and several researchers on his team have also worked to disseminate their results through international conferences, including the 2019 Asia Oceania Geosciences Society meeting (Singapore, August), the Asia Pacific Coast Conference (Hanoi, September), the International Symposium on the Lessons Learnt from the 2018 Tsunamis in Palu and Sunda Strait (Jakarta, September), and the Aceh International Seminar on Civil Engineering (Banda Aceh, September 2019). They also presented their research results in two national conferences: the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Indonesia Disaster Experts Association (IABI) in Bogor and the Seminar on Recent Tsunamis in Indonesia in Banda Aceh. The researchers published four papers in leading international journals in 2019 (Quartile 1 publications, as indexed by SCOPUS and Web of Science) and five papers in SCOPUS-indexed international conference proceedings. The most recent paper, which was co-authored by Rini Suryani Oktari, U.S. partner Dr. Louise Comfort, the PI, and Putra Dwitama, appeared in Progress of Disaster Science in January 2020 and introduced tools for the assessment of coastal hazard impacts coupled with impacts of sea level rise (see Dr. Syamsidik notes that PEER has helped increase his and his team’s capacity to run research projects and deliver outputs and outcomes. These in turn have persuaded other parties, especially Syiah Kuala University and the Indonesian national science agency KEMENRISTEKDIKTI, to grant them more research funds. The PI has also been invited by the Indonesia Tsunami Expert Association to become a member and speak at their forum.

The project has received a one-year no-cost extension through November 2020 to allow the team more time to complete several activities, mostly focused on dissemination. They plan to write and publish several more papers and a book on lessons learned from coastal hazard mitigation in Indonesia. In addition, a documentary movie will be produced to highlight findings and recommendations formulated through their research activities in a format that will reach wider communities and raise increased awareness of coastal hazards. The PI and his group will also conduct a training workshop on tsunami numerical modelling, procure some needed oceanographic equipment, and carry out a monitoring survey on the coastal area around Banda Aceh. In addition, Dr. Syamsidik will be spending some time as a visiting scholar at Brunel University in London. 
Useful Links

"Measuring coastal cities' resilience toward coastal hazards: Instrument development and validation," in Progress in Disaster Science, Volume 5, 2020 (available at  

“Assessing the tsunami mitigation effectiveness of a planned Banda Aceh Outer Ring Road (BORR), Indonesia," in Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (available at

"Post-tsunami survey of the 28 September 2018 tsunami near Palu Bay in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia: Impacts and challenges to coastal communities," in International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, Elsevier, Volume 38, 2019 (available at

The team's brief reports on the Sunda Strait Tsunami of December 2018 are available through the links below:

Recent media coverage and reports posted at the TDMRC website may be accessed below:
Back to PEER Cycle 5 Grant Recipients