Sally Brown

Dr Sally Brown

  • Deputy Head of Department of Life and Environmental Sciences
  • CG23,
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For more details about Sally, please see:

Sally started at Bournemouth University in 2018, becoming Deputy Head of Department in 2020. Education wise, Sally's background is in engineering geomorphology and the ocean and earth sciences, having gained her degrees from the University of Southampton.

Sally is particularly interested in the impacts of sea-level rise and climate change adaptation. Sally was a lead in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 1.5°C report, published in October 2018. She is now contributing to the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment.

She is also keen to see the benefits of research in society, having previously undertaken a placement as part of her research and assisted with impact case studies for the forthcoming Research Excellence Framework (REF) within the department.


Sally is interested in coastal geomorphology, the impacts of sea-level rise on a range of settings and climate change adaptation at local to global scales, plus the long-term sustainability of coastal zones.

Sally's research interests all hinge around physical and social interactions in the coastal zone, particularly integrating research across disciplines. This covers the following themes:

*Global and continental impacts of sea-level rise

*Regional and local impacts of sea-level rise

*Small islands, impacts and sustainable development

*Deltas, impacts and subsidence

*Adaptation to sea-level rise, erosion and flooding

*Heritage and coastal change

*Shoreline management and policy implications

*Coastal sustainability, anthropogenic and environmental change

*Erosion, geomorphology and defences

Her research has covered global, African and European scale analysis, plus Bangladesh, China, Ghana, India, Maldives and Vanuatu.

She is happy to collaborate research on any of these topics or other issues relating to coastal change. Prospective post-graduate research students are also welcome to get in touch.

Journal Articles

  • Brown, S. and Stillman, R., 2021. Evidence-based conservation in a changing world: lessons from waterbird individual-based models. Ecosphere.
  • Townend, I.H., Brown, S. et al., 2021. Operationalising Coastal Resilience to Flood and Erosion Hazard: A Demonstration for England. Science of the Total Environment.
  • Eyring, V., Mishra, V., Griffith, G.P., Chen, L., Keenan, T., Turetsky, M.R., Brown, S., Jotzo, F., Moore, F.C. and van der Linden, S., 2021. Reflections and projections on a decade of climate science. Nature Clim, 11, 279.
  • van der Plank, S., Brown, S. and Nicholls, R.J., 2021. Managing coastal flood risk to residential properties in England: integrating spatial planning, engineering and insurance. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 52.
  • Nicholls, R.J., Lincke, D., Hinkel, J., Brown, S., Vafeidis, A.T., Meyssignac, B., Hanson, S.E., Merkens, J.L. and Fang, J., 2021. A global analysis of subsidence, relative sea-level change and coastal flood exposure. Nature Climate Change.
  • Brown, S., 2020. Book review: Introducing sea-level change. Journal of Coastal Research.
  • Sabour, S., Brown, S., Nicholls, R.J., Haigh, I.D. and Luijendijk, A.P., 2020. Multi-decadal shoreline change in coastal natural world heritage sites – A global assessment. Environmental Research Letters, 15 (10).
  • Parrado, R., Bosello, F., Delpiazzo, E., Hinkel, J., Lincke, D. and Brown, S., 2020. Fiscal effects and the potential implications on economic growth of sea-level rise impacts and coastal zone protection. Climatic Change, 160 (2), 283-302.
  • Fang, J., Lincke, D., Brown, S., Nicholls, R.J., Wolff, C., Merkens, J.L., Hinkel, J., Vafeidis, A.T., Shi, P. and Liu, M., 2020. Coastal flood risks in China through the 21st century – An application of DIVA. Science of the Total Environment, 704.
  • Haasnoot, M., Brown, S., Scussolini, P., Jimenez, J.A., Vafeidis, A.T. and Nicholls, R.J., 2019. Generic adaptation pathways for coastal archetypes under uncertain sea-level rise. Environmental Research Communications.
  • Hoegh-Guldberg, O., Brown, S. et al., 2019. The human imperative of stabilizing global climate change at 1.5°C. Science, 365 (6459).
  • Brown, S. and Hanson, S., 2019. Don’t squander sand — save it for sea-level rise. Nature, 572 (7769), 312.
  • Arnell, N.W., Lowe, J.A., Bernie, D., Nicholls, R.J., Brown, S., Challinor, A.J. and Osborn, T.J., 2019. The global and regional impacts of climate change under representative concentration pathway forcings and shared socioeconomic pathway socioeconomic scenarios. Environmental Research Letters, 14 (8).
  • Conway, D., Brown, S. et al., 2019. The need for bottom-up assessments of climate risks and adaptation in climate-sensitive regions. Nature Climate Change, 9 (7), 503-511.
  • Brown, S., Nicholls, R.J., Pardaens, A.K., Lowe, J.A., Tol, R.S.J., Vafeidis, A.T. and Hinkel, J., 2019. Benefits of climate-change mitigation for reducing the impacts of sea-level rise in G-20 countries. Journal of Coastal Research, 35 (4), 884-895.
  • Schuerch, M., Brown, S. et al., 2019. Author Correction: Future response of global coastal wetlands to sea-level rise (Nature, (2018), 561, 7722, (231-234), 10.1038/s41586-018-0476-5). Nature, 569 (7757), E8.
  • Vafeidis, A.T., Schuerch, M., Wolff, C., Spencer, T., Merkens, J.L., Hinkel, J., Lincke, D., Brown, S. and Nicholls, R.J., 2019. Water-level attenuation in global-scale assessments of exposure to coastal flooding: A sensitivity analysis. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 19 (5), 973-984.
  • Brown, S., Wadey, M.P., Nicholls, R.J., Shareef, A., Khaleel, Z., Hinkel, J., Lincke, D. and McCabe, M.V., 2019. Land raising as a solution to sea-level rise: An analysis of coastal flooding on an artificial island in the Maldives. Journal of Flood Risk Management.
  • Merkens, J.L., Lincke, D., Hinkel, J., Brown, S. and Vafeidis, A.T., 2018. Regionalisation of population growth projections in coastal exposure analysis. Climatic Change, 151 (3-4), 413-426.
  • Reimann, L., Vafeidis, A.T., Brown, S., Hinkel, J. and Tol, R.S.J., 2018. Mediterranean UNESCO World Heritage at risk from coastal flooding and erosion due to sea-level rise. Nature Communications, 9 (1).
  • Schuerch, M., Brown, S. et al., 2018. Future response of global coastal wetlands to sea-level rise. Nature, 561 (7722), 231-234.
  • Brown, S., Nicholls, R.J., Lázár, A.N., Hornby, D.D., Hill, C., Hazra, S., Appeaning Addo, K., Haque, A., Caesar, J. and Tompkins, E.L., 2018. What are the implications of sea-level rise for a 1.5, 2 and 3 °C rise in global mean temperatures in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and other vulnerable deltas? Regional Environmental Change, 18 (6), 1829-1842.
  • Hinkel, J., Aerts, J.C.J.H., Brown, S., Jiménez, J.A., Lincke, D., Nicholls, R.J., Scussolini, P., Sanchez-Arcilla, A., Vafeidis, A. and Addo, K.A., 2018. The ability of societies to adapt to twenty-first-century sea-level rise. Nature Climate Change, 8 (7), 570-578.
  • Nicholls, R.J. et al., 2018. Stabilization of global temperature at 1.5°C and 2.0°C: Implications for coastal areas. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 376 (2119).
  • Brown, S., Nicholls, R.J., Goodwin, P., Haigh, I.D., Lincke, D., Vafeidis, A.T. and Hinkel, J., 2018. Quantifying Land and People Exposed to Sea-Level Rise with No Mitigation and 1.5°C and 2.0°C Rise in Global Temperatures to Year 2300. Earth's Future, 6 (3), 583-600.
  • Goodwin, P., Brown, S., Haigh, I.D., Nicholls, R.J. and Matter, J.M., 2018. Adjusting Mitigation Pathways to Stabilize Climate at 1.5°C and 2.0°C Rise in Global Temperatures to Year 2300. Earth's Future, 6 (3), 601-615.
  • Wahl, T., Brown, S., Haigh, I.D. and Nilsen, J.E.Ø., 2018. Coastal sea levels, impacts, and adaptation. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, 6 (1), 19.
  • Wadey, M., Brown, S., Nicholls, R.J. and Haigh, I., 2017. Coastal flooding in the Maldives: an assessment of historic events and their implications. Natural Hazards, 89 (1), 131-159.
  • Muis, S., Verlaan, M., Nicholls, R.J., Brown, S., Hinkel, J., Lincke, D., Vafeidis, A.T., Scussolini, P., Winsemius, H.C. and Ward, P.J., 2017. A comparison of two global datasets of extreme sea levels and resulting flood exposure. Earth's Future, 5 (4), 379-392.
  • Fang, J., Liu, W., Yang, S., Brown, S., Nicholls, R.J., Hinkel, J., Shi, X. and Shi, P., 2017. Spatial-temporal changes of coastal and marine disasters risks and impacts in Mainland China. Ocean and Coastal Management, 139, 125-140.
  • Sánchez-Arcilla, A., Sierra, J.P., Brown, S., Casas-Prat, M., Nicholls, R.J., Lionello, P. and Conte, D., 2016. A review of potential physical impacts on harbours in the Mediterranean Sea under climate change. Regional Environmental Change, 16 (8), 2471-2484.
  • Payo, A., Brown, S. et al., 2016. Projected changes in area of the Sundarban mangrove forest in Bangladesh due to SLR by 2100. Climatic Change, 139 (2), 279-291.
  • Adam, E.F., Brown, S., Nicholls, R.J. and Tsimplis, M., 2016. A systematic assessment of maritime disruptions affecting UK ports, coastal areas and surrounding seas from 1950 to 2014. Natural Hazards, 83 (1), 691-713.
  • Tol, R.S.J., Nicholls, R.J., Brown, S., Hinkel, J., Vafeidis, A.T., Spencer, T. and Schuerch, M., 2016. Comment on ‘The Global Impacts of Extreme Sea-Level Rise: A Comprehensive Economic Assessment’. Environmental and Resource Economics, 64 (2), 341-344.
  • Spencer, T., Schuerch, M., Nicholls, R.J., Hinkel, J., Lincke, D., Vafeidis, A.T., Reef, R., McFadden, L. and Brown, S., 2016. Global coastal wetland change under sea-level rise and related stresses: The DIVA Wetland Change Model. Global and Planetary Change, 139, 15-30.
  • Brown, S., Nicholls, R.J., Lowe, J.A. and Hinkel, J., 2016. Spatial variations of sea-level rise and impacts: An application of DIVA. Climatic Change, 134 (3), 403-416.
  • Lloyd, S.J., Kovats, R.S., Chalabi, Z., Brown, S. and Nicholls, R.J., 2016. Modelling the influences of climate change-associated sea-level rise and socioeconomic development on future storm surge mortality. Climatic Change, 134 (3), 441-455.
  • Arnell, N.W. et al., 2016. The impacts of climate change across the globe: A multi-sectoral assessment. Climatic Change, 134 (3), 457-474.
  • Arnell, N.W., Brown, S., Gosling, S.N., Hinkel, J., Huntingford, C., Lloyd-Hughes, B., Lowe, J.A., Osborn, T., Nicholls, R.J. and Zelazowski, P., 2016. Global-scale climate impact functions: the relationship between climate forcing and impact. Climatic Change, 134 (3), 475-487.
  • Brown, S., Aplin, K.L., Jenkins, K., Mander, S., Walsh, C. and Williams, P.D., 2016. Weather scientists cite Bob Dylan too. BMJ (Online), 352.
  • Brown, S. and Nicholls, R.J., 2015. Subsidence and human influences in mega deltas: The case of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna. Science of the Total Environment, 527-528, 362-374.
  • Berry, P.M., Brown, S., Chen, M., Kontogianni, A., Rowlands, O., Simpson, G. and Skourtos, M., 2015. Cross-sectoral interactions of adaptation and mitigation measures. Climatic Change, 128 (3-4), 381-393.
  • Brown, S., Aplin, K.L., Jenkins, K., Mander, S., Walsh, C. and Williams, P.D., 2015. Is there a Rhythm of the Rain? An analysis of weather in popular music. Weather, 70 (7), 198-204.
  • Brown, S. et al., 2014. Shifting perspectives on coastal impacts and adaptation. Nature Climate Change, 4 (9), 752-755.
  • Brown, S., Barton, M.E. and Nicholls, R.J., 2014. Shoreline response of eroding soft cliffs due to hard defences. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Maritime Engineering, 167 (1), 3-14.
  • Brown, S., Hanson, S. and Nicholls, R.J., 2014. Implications of sea-level rise and extreme events around Europe: A review of coastal energy infrastructure. Climatic Change, 122 (1-2), 81-95.
  • Dearing, J.A., Brown, S. et al., 2014. Safe and just operating spaces for regional social-ecological systems. Global Environmental Change, 28 (1), 227-238.
  • Brown, S., Nicholls, R.J., Lowe, J.A. and Hinkel, J., 2014. Erratum to Spatial variations of sea-level rise and impacts: An application of DIVA (Climatic Change, 10.1007/s10584-013-0925-y). Climatic Change, 122 (1-2), 329.
  • Warren, R., Brown, S. et al., 2013. The AVOID programme's new simulations of the global benefits of stringent climate change mitigation. Climatic Change, 120 (1-2), 55-70.
  • Arnell, N.W., Brown, S. et al., 2013. A global assessment of the effects of climate policy on the impacts of climate change. Nature Climate Change, 3 (5), 512-519.
  • Hall, J.W., Brown, S., Nicholls, R.J., Pidgeon, N.F. and Watson, R.T., 2012. Proportionate adaptation. Nature Climate Change, 2 (12), 833-834.
  • Brown, S., Barton, M.E. and Nicholls, R.J., 2012. Human interference on soft cliff retreat: Examples from Christchurch Bay, UK. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, 45 (4), 395-404.
  • Hinkel, J., Brown, S., Exner, L., Nicholls, R.J., Vafeidis, A.T. and Kebede, A.S., 2012. Sea-level rise impacts on Africa and the effects of mitigation and adaptation: An application of DIVA. Regional Environmental Change, 12 (1), 207-224.
  • Brown, S., Barton, M.E. and Nicholls, R.J., 2012. The effect of coastal defences on cliff top retreat along the holderness coastline. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, 59 (1), 1-13.
  • Brown, S., Barton, M. and Nicholls, R., 2011. Coastal retreat and/or advance adjacent to defences in England and Wales. Journal of Coastal Conservation, 15 (4), 659-670.
  • Pardaens, A.K., Lowe, J.A., Brown, S., Nicholls, R.J. and de Gusmao, D., 2011. Sea-level rise and impacts projections under a future scenario with large greenhouse gas emission reductions. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 38.
  • Nicholls, R.J., Marinova, N., Lowe, J.A., Brown, S., Vellinga, P., De Gusmão, D., Hinkel, J. and Tol, R.S.J., 2011. Sea-level rise and its possible impacts given a 'beyond 4°C world' in the twenty-first century. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 369 (1934), 161-181.


  • Darby, S.E., Nicholls, R.J., Rahman, M.M., Brown, S. and Karim, R., 2018. A sustainable future supply of fluvial sediment for the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta. Ecosystem Services for Well-Being in Deltas: Integrated Assessment for Policy Analysis. 277-291.
  • Brown, S., Nicholls, R.J., Woodroffe, C.D., Hanson, S., Hinkel, J., Kebede, A.S., Neumann, B. and Vafeidis, A.T., 2013. Sea-level rise impacts and responses: A global perspective. Coastal Research Library. 117-149.


  • van der Plank, S., Brown, S., Nicholls, R.J. and Tompkins, E.L., 2019. Stakeholder expectations of the public in local coastal flood risk management in England. In: ICE Coastal Management 24-26 September 2019 La Rochelle, France.
  • Van Der Plank, S., Brown, S., Nicholls, R.J. and Tompkins, E., 2019. A role for the public in the long-term management of English coastal flood risk? 1179-1185.
  • Brown, S., Stringfellow, A., Beaven, R., Nicholls, R.J. and Murthaza, A., 2017. A preliminary investigation of options of remediation of a coastal landfill in the Maldives. In: 16th International Waste Management and Landfill Symposium 2-6 October 2017 Sardina, Italy.
  • Flegg, E.F., Brown, S., Nicholls, R.J. and Tsimplis, M.N., 2017. UK port preparedness for climate change: The benefits of appropriate adaptation. In: Coasts, Marine Structures and Breakwaters 5-7 September 2017 Liverpool, UK.
  • Max Barton, M.E. and Brown, S., 2014. Littoral drift barriers and the problem of proving accelerated recession. 9-12.
  • Brown, S., Nicholls, R., Pardaens, A., Lowe, J., Vafeidis, A., Hinkel, J. and Watkiss, P., 2012. Impacts and strategic responses to rising sea levels in the European Union. In: Klijn, F. and Schweckendiek, T., eds. 2nd European Conference on Flood Risk Management 1-8 November 2012 Rotterdam. 1139-1147.
  • Brown, S. and Barton, M.E., 2007. Downdrift erosion and the frequency of coastal landsliding. 429-433.
The data on this page was last updated at 04:10 on April 11, 2021.