Pan-European coastal vulnerability: translating incomplete data and information for communicating situational awareness

CHERITH MOSES*, Cerys Butterill, Tanvi Chopra, Amber Humphries, Sytze Van Heteren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


The identification and communication of potential risks faced by coastal-zone populations is becoming increasingly important to strengthen society’s resilience and enabling people to better handle coastal hazards. Assessing risk and vulnerability is important to inform the public, as well as coastal managers, on sustainable policy and practice. This so-called coastal vulnerability has been assessed, quantified and mapped using a wide variety of approaches, focussing on hazard, risk and resilience. Many studies place emphasis on physical parameters such as geology and topography, and on marine factors such as wave energy and storm frequency. Others also incorporate socio-economic factors such as population, cultural heritage, presence of crucial infrastructure, land use and conservation status.

Our pan-European assessment of coastal vulnerability adds a new layer of information to the existing EMODnet Geology product suite on shoreline change. EMODnet Geology benefits the public sector, civil society, the private sector and the research community through harmonising and integrating existing and new datasets for dissemination via the EMODnet portal. Using the most complete inventory to date of case studies on coastal vulnerability in scientific journals, books and governmental reports, we have developed a detailed database on various vulnerability aspects across Europe and in other countries around the world. By geo-locating the maps from these studies, we are able to assess the extent of coverage of coastal vulnerability assessment around European shorelines. Drawing on the existing literature, we are developing a common legend, indicating low, medium and high levels of vulnerability that can be mapped at a pan-European scale.

Our research indicates incomplete coverage by existing studies. Using data from existing EMODnet products such as shoreline migration, geology and bathymetry, we will develop a basic coastal vulnerability index that can be validated against existing studies and used to fill the gaps. The resulting applied data product will help raise awareness in the general public and facilitate the work of coastal policy makers, planners and practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2022
EventEGU General Assembly 2022 - Vienna, Austria
Duration: 23 May 202227 May 2022


ConferenceEGU General Assembly 2022


  • Coastal vulnerability


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