New West Africa Coastal Zone Data Collection at SEDAC

The 16 datasets in the West Africa Coastal Vulnerability Mapping collection provide a wealth of information about the stresses affecting this important region.

A new data collection distributed by NASA’s Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) provides insight into the vulnerability of West Africa’s coastline to climate stresses. The 16 datasets comprising the West Africa Coastal Vulnerability Mapping data collection are part of a larger study looking at the economic, social, and natural systems in West Africa that will be exposed to future sea-level rise, storm surge, and riparian floods. Collection datasets include information ranging from crop production, demographic and health survey data, population projections through 2050, and a subset of global mammal and amphibian richness grids for the West African coastal zone.

The area covered in the collection extends from Guinea-Bissau in the Northwest to Cameroon in the Southeast, a 200-kilometer coastal zone that is larger than what might normally be construed as “coastal.” This large area was used because the economic impacts of climate change will not be confined to the coastline itself, but will extend further inland. In fact, almost half of the region’s population—24 million people—live within 200 kilometers of the coast.

Example map from the collection depicting known mangrove areas from the year 2000 (shown in green) and deforestation from 2000 to 2012 (brown shades, with darker brown indicating areas of greater forest loss) overlain on the Low Elevation Coastal Zone (LECZ) of West Africa (shown in grayscale). The LECZ approximates areas that could be affected by varying degrees of sea level rise and storm surge. This map was produced by CIESIN at the Earth Institute of Columbia University under contract to Tetra Tech ARD for the USAID-funded African and Latin American Resilience to Climate Change (ARCC) project (September 2014). All maps and reports/documentation can be found at Map and text courtesy of CIESIN.

SEDAC is the Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) responsible for archiving and distributing socioeconomic data in the EOSDIS collection, and is hosted at Columbia University’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN). SEDAC synthesizes Earth science and socioeconomic data and information in ways useful to a wide range of decision makers and other applied users, and serves as an “Information Gateway” between the socioeconomic and Earth science data and information domains.

Explore the SEDAC West Africa Coastal Vulnerability Mapping collection:

For maps representing the climate exposure and vulnerability indices from this collection, visit the CIESIN web page "Mapping the Exposure of Socioeconomic and Natural Systems of West Africa to Coastal Climate Stressors.”

Last Updated
Nov 4, 2020