Sentosa Climate Change Risk Assessment
Sentosa, a 500-hectares resort island located at the southern tip of Singapore, has a range of attractions, from nature trails, to beaches, destination dining, theme parks and spa resorts. In 2019, Sentosa hosts more than 19 million tourists, making Sentosa Asia’s leading tourist destination. Additionally, Sentosa Cove, a residential enclave located in Sentosa, is home to more than 6000 residents across 2000 households.
From an ecological perspective, 8 different habitats can be found on the island, including coastal forest, secondary forest, rocky seashores, intertidal and more. 26 heritage trees had been identified together with a thriving biohabitat from ridge to reef, resident to corals, tropical marine-life, insect-eating plants, butterflies, and hundreds of migratory birds. This is under threat from climate change.
According to the 2014 IPCC report , global temperatures are expected to rise by 1.7°C to 4.8°C by 2100. Thus, a faster rate of melting of the Arctic ice sheets and an increase in thermal expansion of water due to warmer temperatures is expected to cause sea levels to rise by more than a meter. Both the rise in surface temperatures and sea level are major threats to the Sentosa Island and its functions:
The threat of sea level rise increases the risk of flooding and sea water intrusion along Sentosa’s low lying beaches which can inundate vegetation, housing, and tourist facilities, and hence disrupting businesses and lives.
The increase in frequency and intensity of severe weather events such as thunderstorms and dry spells can also hamper outdoor activities and cause changes to the forest ecosystems on the island.
Likewise, the increase in temperature accompanying climate change may aggravate the urban heat island effect, which may increase thermal discomfort among guests, and discourage outdoor activities.
Additionally, the rise in ocean temperatures could also cause coral reef bleaching on our shores and lead to an imbalanced and disrupted ecosystem.
The impacts of climate change on Sentosa Island will severely disrupt many businesses, lives and biodiversity that are currently on the Island. Hence, there is an urgent need for Sentosa to both adapt to the threats posed by the changing climate as well as to mitigate the climate change impacts to ensure that Sentosa continues to be an island of discovery for all. The actions undertaken under the Sustainable Sentosa roadmap will guide island businesses and stakeholders to play their part in mitigating the impact towards climate change as well as provide a model for other destinations to introduce sustainable principles into how they develop and operate their respective precincts.
IPCC, 2014. Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report Summary for Policymakers, s.l.: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change .