U.S. Geological Survey
Coastal and Marine Geology
Woods Hole Field Center

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


Regional Examples:
Figure 4.  Map of the Coastal Vulnerability Index for the New York to New Jersey region.

Figure 8.   Map of the Coastal Vulnerability Index for the North Carolina to Georgia region.

The data underlying the coastal vulnerability index (CVI) show variability at several spatial scales. The rate of sea-level rise, and tide range vary over a spatial scale of >100 km. In the case of sea-level rise, this represents the large-scale patterns of isostasy and tectonism present along the Atlantic continental margin of North America (Peltier, 1996; Braatz and Aubrey, 1987). Changes in tide range generally reflect changes in the configuration of the continental shelf as a whole (e.g., shelf width).

A second group of variables, consisting of geomorphology and wave height, vary on a ~10 km scale that reflects primarily the landward changes in environments and energy in the coastal system. For example, there is a nearly continuous chain of barrier islands backed by estuaries and lagoons along the open-ocean coast from eastern Long Island, New York to the Florida Keys.

The shoreline erosion/accretion rates vary on a spatial scale equal to the minimum size of our grid, which is 3 minutes or ~6 km. It is this variable which adds the greatest variation to the CVI values. As described above, this is also the variable in our data set that is the least well-documented.

Regional Examples

To highlight the nature of the CVI and its underlying data, different index variables from two geographic regions are presented on the next two pages:

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Introduction/ Risk Variables/ Data Ranking/ CVI/ Results/ Discussion/ Summary/ References >
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