Coastal Vulnerability Assessment of the Northern Gulf of Mexico to Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Change

Open-File Report 2010-1146
Prepared in cooperation with the National Park Service
By: , and 

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Abstract

A coastal vulnerability index (CVI) was used to map the relative vulnerability of the coast to future sea-level rise along the Northern Gulf of Mexico from Galveston, TX, to Panama City, FL. The CVI ranks 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, historical shoreline change rate, mean tidal range, and mean significant wave height. The rankings for each variable are combined and an index value is calculated for 1-kilometer grid cells along the coast. The CVI highlights those regions where the physical effects of sea-level rise might be the greatest. The CVI assessment presented here builds on an earlier assessment conducted for the Gulf of Mexico. Recent higher resolution shoreline change, land loss, elevation, and subsidence data provide the foundation for a better assessment for the Northern Gulf of Mexico. The areas along the Northern Gulf of Mexico that are likely to be most vulnerable to sea-level rise are parts of the Louisiana Chenier Plain, Teche-Vermillion Basin, and the Mississippi barrier islands, as well as most of the Terrebonne and Barataria Bay region and the Chandeleur Islands. These very high vulnerability areas have the highest rates of relative sea-level rise and the highest rates of shoreline change or land area loss. The information provided by coastal vulnerability assessments can be used in long-term coastal management and policy decision making.

Suggested Citation

Pendleton, E.A., Barras, J.A., Williams, S.J., and Twichell, D.C., 2010, Coastal Vulnerability Assessment of the Northern Gulf of Mexico to Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Change: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010-1146, (Also available at http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2010/1146/.)

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Northern Gulf of Mexico
  • Methods
  • Geologic Variables
  • Physical Process Variables
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusions
  • Acknowledgments
  • References Cited
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Coastal vulnerability assessment of the Northern Gulf of Mexico to sea-level rise and coastal change
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2010-1146
DOI 10.3133/ofr20101146
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description iv, 26 p.
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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