The coastal vulnerability index (CVI) provides insight into the relative potential of coastal change due to future sea-level rise. The maps and data presented here can be viewed in at least two ways:
1) as an example of where physical changes are most likely to occur as sea-level rises; and
2) as a planning tool for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
As ranked in this study, geomorphology, shoreline change, coastal slope, and significant wave height are the most important variables in determining the CVI for Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Tide range and sea-level rise do not contribute to the spatial variability in the CVI.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore preserves a dynamic natural environment, which must be understood in order to be managed properly. The CVI is one way that a park can assess objectively the natural factors that contribute to the evolution of the coastal zone, and thus how the park may evolve in the future.