Typically hot and dry, Tunis sometimes experiences flash floods in autumn. These have become more violent in recent years, and sea level rise is expected to worsen the situation. Poorly equipped to deal with the rising waters, Tunisia faces a serious challenge. 

Earth.Org has mapped what severe flooding could look like in Tunis by 2100.

Tunisia is a lower- to middle-income country in North Africa in the southern Mediterranean. It is quite vulnerable to multiple aspects of climate change, as it is heavily reliant on agriculture and extreme weather events could become more frequent. Over 80% of Tunisia’s economic activity is concentrated on its North-Eastern coastline and islands, where two-thirds of the country’s 11.6 million inhabitants live. 

While Tunisia will bear the full brunt of additional aridification in non-coastal areas, densely populated sea-side will be left to tackle sea level rise, a challenge it is unprepared for. Much of Tunis is on a low-lying plateau around the sea, and while there is some awareness of the danger, no policies or action plans have been proposed by the government. 

While the direct and further knock-on costs of sea level rise have not been estimated for Tunis, our in-house modelling shows that up to 200 thousand people could be displaced by flooding on top of sea level rise by 2100. Such an event would also paralyze economic activity, severely damage buildings, and possibly discourage tourism. As a call for awareness and action, we illustrate this below. 

sea level rise by 2100 tunis

Sea level rise projections by 2100 for two scenarios with the amount of rise in meters indicated (mild = 1m; extreme = 3m). Percentage and total population displacement indicated bottom right.


Global mean sea level is projected to rise by 2m at the end of this century. However, in order to determine local sea level rise (SLR), one has to take into account local coastal flood levels which could be 2.8m above Mean Higher-High Water (MHHW) at extreme forecasts. These local levels bring variability to the projected SLR from 1m to 6.5m (eg. Rio vs Kolkata).

The SLR scenarios used in this study are based on the forecasts from Climate Central – Coastal Risk Screening Tool  with the following parameters:

Sea level Projection Source:

From two highly cited journals by Kopp et al., estimating SLR mainly due to ocean thermal expansion and ice melt. The mid-range scenario projected 0.5-1.2m of SLR based on different representative concentration pathways (RCP) defined by the IPCC. While the pessimistic scenario added more mechanisms of ice-sheet melting, estimating SLR at 1m-2.5m in 2100, with a projection of 10m SLR at 2300.

Coastal Flooding

More frequent coastal flooding is a direct impact of sea-level rise. Based on the Global tides and surge reanalysis by Muis et al., (2016), it is estimated that the extreme coastal water level could be from 0.2 – 2.8m over the mean level. While in extreme cases like China and the Netherlands it could experience 5-10m of extreme sea levels. Here, the coastal local flood level is added on top of the projected SLR.

Pollution Scenario:

Allows choosing the RCP, the greenhouse gas concentration trajectory defined by the IPCC.  The mild level is based on RCP4.5, of 2°C temperature rise; while the Extreme level is based on RCP 8.5, of 4°C temperature rise.


Applies to the baseline SLR, defined in the “Sea level projection” section, upon which we add flooding. “Mild” refers to the mid-range scenario of 0.5-1.2m, and “extreme” to the pessimistic scenario of 1-2.5m. We used the high-end value of each scenario (mild = 1m; extreme = 2.5m).

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