National Assessment of Coastal Vulnerability to Sea-Level Rise: Preliminary Results for the U.S. Gulf of Mexico Coast

In this report, the relative vulnerability (the Coastal Vulnerability Index, or CVI) of different coastal environments to sea-level rise is quantified for the U.S. Gulf of Mexico Coast region. This initial classification is based upon variables such as coastal geomorphology, regional coastal slope, rate of sea-level rise, wave and tide characteristics, and historical shoreline change rates. The combination of these variables and the association of these variables to each other furnishes a broad overview of sub-regions where physical changes are likely to occur due to sea-level rise.

This study updates existing databases of geologic and environmental variables including geomorphology, regional coastal slope, rate of relative sea-level rise, shoreline erosion and accretion rates, tide range and mean wave height. This project integrates model output such as eustatic, isostatic, and short-term climatic sea-level change estimates in order to assess the potential impacts on the shoreline due to these changes. This project also develops other databases of environmental information, such as relative coastal sediment supply, as well as including episodic events (hurricane intensity, track, and landfall location, Nor'easter storm intensity data, and El Nino-related climate data such as short-term sea-level rise), and human influences (e.g., coastal engineering such as beach nourishment).

Similar studies were performed for the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, 2009 and 2010 respectively.  Additionally, subsequent national assessment processes generated useful data for the region, including the 2008 Synthesis and Assessment Product 4.7 - Impacts of Climate Variability and Change on Transportation Systems and Infrastructure - Gulf Coast Study (see separate entry) and the Southeast and Coastal region sections of the 2009 "Global Climate Change Impacts in the U.S." report (see separate entry).


Publication Date: 2000

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • E. Robert Thieler
  • Erika S. Hammar-Klose

Related Organizations:


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Assessment

States Affected:


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