Journal cover Journal topic
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
26 Aug 2016
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper was accepted for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS) and is expected to appear here in due course.
Costs of sea dikes – regressions and uncertainty estimates
Stephan Lenk1, Diego Rybski1, Oliver Heidrich2, Richard J. Dawson2, and Jürgen P. Kropp1,3 1Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research – PIK, Member of Leibniz Association, P.O. Box 601203, 14412 Potsdam, Germany
2School of Civil Engineering & Geosciences & Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK
3University of Potsdam, Institute of Earth and Environmental Science, Potsdam, Germany
Abstract. Failure to consider the costs of adaptation strategies can be seen by decision makers as a barrier for implementing coastal protection measures. In order to validate adaptation strategies to sea-level rise in the form of coastal protection, a consistent and repeatable assessment of the costs is necessary. This paper significantly extends current knowledge on cost estimates by developing, and implementing using real coastal dike data, probabilistic functions of dike costs. With the aim of providing a reproducible estimate of typical sea dike costs and their uncertainty we analyse data from Canada and the Netherlands and relate this to published studies from the US, UK, and Vietnam. We plot the costs divided by dike length as a function of height and test four different regression models. Our analysis shows that a linear function without intercept is sufficient to model the costs, i.e. fixed costs and higher order contributions such as from the volume of core fill material are less significant. We also characterise the spread around the regression models which represents an uncertainty stemming from factors beyond dike length and height. Drawing the analogy to project cost overruns, we employ log-normal distributions and calculate that the range between 3x and x/3 contains 95 % of the data, where x represents the corresponding regression value. We compare our estimates with previously published unit costs for other countries. We note that the unit costs not only depend on the country and land-use (urban/non-urban) of the sites where the dikes are being constructed but also characteristics included in the costs, e.g. property acquisition, utility relocation, project management. We provide recommendations how to improve the reporting and estimating of the costs in order to support future adaptation studies worldwide.

Citation: Lenk, S., Rybski, D., Heidrich, O., Dawson, R. J., and Kropp, J. P.: Costs of sea dikes – regressions and uncertainty estimates, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/nhess-2016-270, in review, 2016.
Stephan Lenk et al.
Stephan Lenk et al.
Stephan Lenk et al.


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