The Vulnerable Future of Bonaire A direct climate damage assessment of the built environment of Bonaire
Part of the larger The impacts of climate change on Bonaire (2022-present) report available here.
This study aims to identify the extent to which Bonaire’s buildings and critical infrastructure will be directly impacted by future climate change, focusing on floods and storms. To do so, we combine open-source information on exposure and vulnerability with locally acquired detailed information through interviews and fieldwork. We introduce a new method, called neighbourhood sampling, to produce accurate local data on building values to overcome data scarcity. The results show that in 2050 a 1/100 flood event may affect at least 54 buildings, depending on the climate scenario, most of which are residential along the southern coastline, leading to a maximum of 14.4 USDm in damages. In 2050, no critical infrastructure other than roads will be hit by a flood. Using our approach, we find no damages due to storm hazards, which can be attributed to the limited availability of knowledge on wind vulnerability for Bonaire. The results are assumed to be underestimated due to inaccuracy in the applied hazard intensity maps, which can significantly impact the estimated flooding damages and associated costs. This research is anticipated to serve as a foundation for more sophisticated local climate hazard research on scarce data locations, and Bonaire specifically. Moreover, it provides a starting point for further research on adaptation measures on Bonaire, as it shows which areas are most vulnerable to flooding.