Project research questions and study areas

Key aims

Prof Cherith Moses and Associate Prof Dr Kanchana Nakhapakorn of Mahidol University meet key government officials during the project workshops at the Thai-coast project study sites.

The Thai-coast project has three key aims:

  1. Enhance coastal community resilience and future sustainability under climate change scenarios (Work Packages 5 and 6).
  2. Use the quantitative links developed in WPs 1 and 2 to assess the interaction of natural and social processes under current and future climate change (Work Packages 3, 4, 5).
  3. Establish quantitative links between climate change, coastal erosion and flooding (Work Packages 1 and 2).

In addressing these three key aims, the project seeks to answer a series of overarching research questions in relation to hydro-meteorological hazards’ impact and coastal community resilience:

  • What are the quantitative links between climate change, coastal erosion and flooding? (addressed in Work Packages 1 and 2)
  • To what extent do river catchment processes influence coastal erosion and flooding? (addressed in Work Packages 1 and 2)
  • How do natural and social processes interact to exacerbate or mitigate the impact of hydro-meteorological hazards? (addressed in Work Packages 3 and 4)
  • How can the role of governance and institutional arrangements be strengthened to mitigate future impacts of hydro-meteorological hazards on coastal communities in Thailand? (addressed in Work Packages 5 and 6)

Study areas

The research focuses on two study areas, Nakhon Si Thammarat province and Krabi province, selected on the basis of DMCR coastal erosion data and with contrasting natural and socio-economic characteristics (Table 1). This enables us to apply identical, in-depth methodologies to facilitate direct comparison of two contrasting sites and to establish policy-relevant research outcomes of value to other coastal provinces after project completion.

Coastal characteristics / ProvinceNakhon Si ThammaratKrabi
Costal distance (km)244.99216.31
Coastal erosion (km)53.4639.20
Coastal erosion (%)21.8218.12
Level of coastal erosion (km) > 5 m/yr 18.87 4.80
1-5 m/yr 17.53 34.40
< 1 m/yr 17.06 0

Table 1a.


Study siteNakhon Si Thammarat provinceKrabi province
LocationEast coast, Gulf of ThailandAndaman coast
Tidal regime0.2 – 1.2m2.5 – 3.0m (max. 4.0m)
Dominant wave directionS-SES-SW
Significant wave height1 – 2m0.3 – 1.5m
Annual average rainfall2292 mm (> 750mm November, December)2388mm (max. 6606 mm during SW monsoon, May to August)
Area9,942km²4,709 km²
Dominant geologyIgneous, graniteSedimentary, limestone
Main river catchmentTapi River (235 km long; catchment area 5,460 km²)Khlong Krabi Yai (36 km long; catchment area 198 km²)
Conservation designationKhao Luang National ParkKrabi river estuary is registered Ramsar site since 2001
Dominant human economic activitiesAquaculture; agricultureTourism
Population density159 / km²97 / km²
Total population1,548,000456,811

Table 1b.


Table 1. Thai-coast project study areas (a) Location, topography, rivers and level of coastal erosion. (b) Key natural and social characteristics (source: DMRC, 2009, 2016).