Coastal Vulnerability to Sea-Level Rise: A Preliminary Database for the U.S. Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico CoastsEntry ID: USGS_DDS-68
Abstract: Coastal Changes Due to Sea-Level Rise:
One of the most important applied problems in coastal geology today is
determining the physical response of the coastline to sea-level rise.
Predicting shoreline retreat, beach loss, cliff retreat, and land loss rates is
critical to planning coastal zone management strategies and assessing
biological impacts due to habitat change or destruction. Presently, ... long-term
(>50 years) coastal planning and decision-making has been done piecemeal, if at
all, for the nation's shoreline (National Research Council, 1990; 1995).
Consequently, facilities are being located and entire communities are being
developed without adequate consideration of the potential costs of protecting
or relocating them from sea-level rise related erosion, flooding and storm
Recent estimates of future sea-level rise based on climate modeling (Wigley and
Raper, 1992) suggest an increase in global eustatic sea-level of between 15 and
95 cm by 2100, with a "best estimate" of 50 cm (IPCC, 1995). This is more than
double the rate of eustatic rise for the past century (Douglas, 1997; Peltier
and Jiang, 1997).
The prediction of coastal evolution is not straightforward. There is no
standard methodology, and even the kinds of data required to make such
predictions are the subject of much scientific debate. A number of predictive
approaches have been used (National Research Council, 1990), including: 1.
extrapolation of historical data (for example, coastal erosion rates); 2.
static inundation modeling; 3. application of a simple geometric model (for
example, the Bruun Rule); 4. application of a sediment dynamics/budget model;
or 5. Monte Carlo (probabilistic) simulation based on parameterized physical
forcing variables. Each of these approaches, however, has its shortcomings or
can be shown to be invalid for certain applications (National Research Council,
1990). Similarly, the types of input data required vary widely, and for a given
approach (for example, sediment budget), existing data may be indeterminate or
may simply not exist (Klein and Nicholls, 1999). Furthermore, human
manipulation of the coast in the form of beach nourishment, construction of
seawalls, groins, and jetties, as well as coastal development itself, may
dictate Federal, State and local priorities for coastal management without
proper regard for geologic processes. Thus, the long-term decision to renourish
or otherwise engineer a coastline may be the primary determining factor in how
that coastal segment evolves.
Variables Affecting Coastal Vulnerability:
We use here a fairly simple classification of the relative vulnerability of
different U.S. coastal environments to future rises in sea-level. This approach
combines the coastal system's susceptibility to change with its natural ability
to adapt to changing environmental conditions, and yields a relative measure of
the system's natural vulnerability to the effects of sea-level rise (Klein and
Nicholls, 1999). The vulnerability classification is based upon the relative
contributions and interactions of six variables:
1. Tidal range, which contributes to inundation hazards.
2. Wave height, which is linked to inundation hazards.
3. Coastal slope (steepness or flatness of the coastal region), which is linked
to the susceptibility of a coast to inundation by flooding and to the rapidity
of shoreline retreat.
4. Shoreline erosion rates, which indicate how the given section of shoreline
has been eroding.
5. Geomorphology, which indicates the relative erodibility of a given section
6. Historical rates of relative sea-level rise, which correspond to how the
global (eustatic) sea-level rise and local tectonic processes (land motion such
as uplift or subsidence) have affected a section of shoreline.
The input data for this database of coastal vulnerability have been assembled
using the original, and sometimes variable, horizontal resolution, which then
was resampled to a 3-minute grid cell. A data set for each risk variable is
then linked to each grid point. For mapping purposes, data stored in the
3-minute grid is transferred to a 1:2,000,000 vector shoreline with each
segment of shoreline lying within a single grid cell.
[Summary provided by the USGS.]
Data Set Citation
Dataset Originator/Creator: Erika S. Hammar-Klose and E. Robert Thieler
Dataset Title: Coastal Vulnerability to Sea-Level Rise: A Preliminary Database for the U.S. Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico Coasts
Dataset Series Name: Digital Data Series
Dataset Release Date: 2001
Dataset Release Place: Woods Hole, Massachusetts
Dataset Publisher: U.S. Geological Survey
Issue Identification: DDS-68
Data Presentation Form: GIS data filesOnline Resource: http://pubs.usgs.gov/dds/dds68/
BIOSPHERE > ECOSYSTEMS > MARINE ECOSYSTEMS > COASTAL > BEACHES
OCEANS > COASTAL PROCESSES > BARRIER ISLANDS
OCEANS > COASTAL PROCESSES > BEACHES
OCEANS > COASTAL PROCESSES > COASTAL ELEVATION
OCEANS > COASTAL PROCESSES > EROSION
OCEANS > COASTAL PROCESSES > SEA LEVEL RISE
OCEANS > COASTAL PROCESSES > SEA SURFACE HEIGHT
OCEANS > COASTAL PROCESSES > SEDIMENT TRANSPORT
OCEANS > COASTAL PROCESSES > SEDIMENTATION
OCEANS > COASTAL PROCESSES > SHORELINE DISPLACEMENT
OCEANS > COASTAL PROCESSES > SHORELINES
OCEANS > COASTAL PROCESSES > TIDAL HEIGHT
HUMAN DIMENSIONS > ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNANCE/MANAGEMENT > ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENTS > COASTAL VULNERABILITY
HUMAN DIMENSIONS > SOCIAL BEHAVIOR > VULNERABILITY LEVELS/INDEX
Quality Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their
employees, makes any warranty, expressed or implied, or assumes any legal
liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of
any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed in this report, or
... represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference
therein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name,
trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply
its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or
any agency thereof.
Data Set Progress
Distribution Media: Online
Distribution Format: Shapefiles, Arc/Info export files
Fees: No fees
Distribution Media: CD-ROM
Distribution Format: Shapefiles, Arc/Info export files
Douglas, B.C., 1997, Global sea rise; a redetermination. Surveys in Geophysics, v.18, p. 279-292.
IPCC, 1995, IPCC Second Assessment - Climate Change 1995: A Report of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,IPCC, Geneva,Switzerland,64 p.
Klein, R, and Nicholls, R, 1999, Assessment of Coastal Vulnerability to Climate Change. Ambio, 28 (2):182-187
National Research Council, 1990, Managing Coastal Erosion. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 163p.
National Research Council, 1995, Beach Nourishment and Protection. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 334p.
Peltier, W.R., and Jiang, X., 1997. Mantle viscosity, glacial isostatic
adjustment and the eustatic level of the sea: Surveys in Geophysics, v.18, p. 239-277.
Thieler, E.R., and Hammar-Klose, E.S., 1999. National Assessment of Coastal
Vulnerability to Future Sea-Level Rise: Preliminary Results for the U.S.
Atlantic Coast. U.S. Geological Survey, Open-File Report 99-593, 1 sheet. [Also published as PDF files on this CD-ROM.]
Thieler, E.R., and Hammar-Klose, E.S., 2000a. National Assessment of Coastal Vulnerability to Future Sea-Level Rise: Preliminary Results for the U.S. Pacific Coast. U.S. Geological Survey, Open-File Report 00-178, 1 sheet. [Also published as PDF files on this CD-ROM.]
Thieler, E.R., and Hammar-Klose, E.S., 2000b. National Assessment of Coastal Vulnerability to Future Sea-Level Rise: Preliminary Results for the U.S. Gulf of Mexico Coast. U.S. Geological Survey, Open-File Report 00-179, 1 sheet.[Also published as PDF files on this CD-ROM.]
Wigley, T. M. L., and Raper, S. C. B. 1992, Implications for climate and sea level of revised IPCC emission scenarios. Nature, v.357, p. 293-300.
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Creation and Review Dates
DIF Creation Date: 2005-07-20
Last DIF Revision Date: 2017-08-23