Coastal Vulnerability Assessment of Olympic National Park to Sea-Level Rise

Open-File Report 2004-1021
Prepared in cooperation with the National Park Service
By: , and 



A coastal vulnerability index (CVI) was used to map the relative vulnerability of the coast to future sea-level rise within Olympic National Park (OLYM), Washington. The CVI scores the following in terms of their physical contribution to sea-level rise-related coastal change: geomorphology, regional coastal slope, rate of relative sea-level rise, shoreline change rates, mean tidal range and mean wave height. The rankings for each variable were combined and an index value calculated for 1-minute grid cells covering the park. The CVI highlights those regions where the physical effects of sea-level rise might be the greatest. This approach combines the coastal system's susceptibility to change with its natural ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions, yielding a quantitative, although relative, measure of the park's natural vulnerability to the effects of sea-level rise. The CVI provides an objective technique for evaluation and long-term planning by scientists and park managers. The Olympic National Park coast consists of rocky headlands, pocket beaches, glacial-fluvial features, and sand and gravel beaches. The Olympic coastline that is most vulnerable to sea-level rise are beaches in gently sloping areas.

Suggested Citation

Pendleton, E.A., Hammar-Klose, E.S., Thieler, E.R., and Williams, S.J., 2004, Coastal vulnerability assessment of Olympic National Park to sea-level rise, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2004-1020

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Data Ranking
  • Olympic National Park
  • Methodology
  • Geologic Variables
  • Physical Process Variables
  • The Coastal Vulnerabilty Index
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusions
  • References
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Coastal vulnerability assessment of Olympic National Park to sea-level rise
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2004-1021
DOI 10.3133/ofr20041021
Year Published 2004
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description 23 p.
Country United States
State Washington
Other Geospatial Olympic National Park
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details