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Coastal Plain Life Insurance Company

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Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Marine and Environmental Sciences, Universidad de Cádiz, 11510 Puerto Real, Spain

Received: 6 December 2020 / Revised: 30 December 2020 / Accepted: 4 January 2021 / Published: 12 January 2021

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The coastal zone is a vulnerable environment and requires special attention to preserve the ecosystem and human activities. For this purpose, in the past and recent years, many studies have been devoted to the analysis of the main factors affecting the vulnerability and sensitivity of the coastline. Among the most commonly used approaches, the Coastal Vulnerability Index (CVI) takes into account all relevant variables characterizing the coastal environment, dealing with: (i) forcing (waves, sea level rise, etc.), (ii) ) morphological features (geomorphology, coastal mountains, dune features, etc.), (iii) socioeconomic, ecological and cultural aspects (tourism activities, natural habitats, etc.). Each variable is evaluated in each part of the investigated coastline and is associated with a level of vulnerability that usually ranges from 1 (very low vulnerability) to 5 (very high vulnerability). After assessing the sensitivity/vulnerability of the coastal zone, specific strategies should be selected and implemented, ranging from hard solutions (e.g. desalination, etc.) to soft solutions (e.g. (e.g. beach nourishment projects and reefs).In terms of relocation and developing accommodation strategies (eg emergency preparedness).

Coastal vulnerability, defined as the susceptibility of coastal areas to be affected by floods or erosion processes, hurricanes [1, 2, 3, 4], post-storms [5], hurricanes [6, 7, 8, 9], 10 ] and tsunamis [ 11 ], 12 , 13 , 14 ], is a major problem affecting many coasts of the world and can be reflected in the destruction of property and infrastructure [ 15 ]. A more precise definition is given by Rizzo et al. [16], states that coastal vulnerability deals with the natural environment such as dunes and coastal erosion/flooding vulnerability, while coastal vulnerability deals with human activities/use, hence socio-economic aspects should be included in studies of coastal vulnerability.

There are different ways to check the sensitivity or vulnerability of a coastal area. In particular, four different methods can be identified for this purpose, that is, the existing methods can be divided into the following clusters: (1) methods based on indicators/indices, (2) methods based on dynamic computer models, (3) GIS-based basis. Among decision support tools, (4) visualization tools [17]. The methods belonging to the first group allow a simple comparison of the vulnerability of different areas, which makes them the most applicable methods [18].

Because assessing coastal sensitivity/vulnerability is so important, a number of indicators have been designed over the past 30 years that attempt to measure coastal vulnerability to various processes in the coastal zone. Due to the large number of coastal processes involved, their relative importance and their very different (temporal and spatial) dynamic characteristics, many indicators have been developed so that the development of a comprehensive classification is not an easy task. Therefore, there are many ways to determine coastal sensitivity/vulnerability that, in addition to the characteristics of physical elements, require different types of data in different ranges and formulas, as well as the determination of socioeconomic variables (Figure 1).

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This paper analyzes the morphological and forcing variables considered in coastal sensitivity and vulnerability studies, but does not consider population density, total non-local population, poverty rate, municipal wealth, etc. [19, 20], which are considered in vulnerability studies. One of the most widely used methods in the world to assess coastal vulnerability is the Coastal Vulnerability Index (CVI) [ 21 , 22 , 23 ], which classifies the relative vulnerability of the coast by combining different vulnerability classes. with the associated coastal features (e.g. medium elevation). , geology, coastal landforms, etc.) and external influences (wave height, tidal ranges, etc.). The CVI method proposed by Gorenz [22] and Gorenz et al. [ 23 ], has been adapted and/or adapted by many researchers for coastal damage assessment along the world’s coastlines (e.g. [ 24 , 25 , 26 , 27 , 28 , 29 , 30 , 31 , 32 , 33 , 33 ]).

Some general considerations can be taken into account in the broader structure of the sensitivity/vulnerability index. There is no “one size fits all” coastal vulnerability index that can be applied at all levels. The components that contribute to vulnerability and the utility of the index approach vary with the size and type of data and availability, which are important factors in determining the parameters to describe vulnerability in each ratio. Furthermore, the index should be based on information that should be readily available in each area without the need for extensive research [35]. The time required for data processing is also considered when data must be extracted from large datasets or secondary data must be obtained. Another point is the robustness of the index [36], which means that the classification should be less affected by subjective choices. This feature is closely related to the continued need for expert opinion/judgment in the calculation of vulnerability indices and/or weighted variables that contribute to coastal vulnerability. One of the most common weighting methods is the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), which, although developed in the 1970s [37], has recently been increasingly used in coastal vulnerability studies [17, 38]. Points are usually determined by experts and a comparison matrix is ​​created that reflects the importance of each variable relative to all other variables. Other important points are the type and number of variables. Although Sekovski et al. [17] included only geomorphological and geological variables in their CVI approach, arguing that calculations should also be obtained or generated for data-poor coastal areas, the authors stated that forcing components (e.g. sea level change, significant wave height and tidal range) are the basis of hydrodynamic action that should preferably be included in CVI studies.

Regarding the number of variables, Balika et al. [39] argue that an index that uses multiple variables is less reliable than one based on the use of more and more complex variables, because a large difference in one variable can have a strong effect on the entire index. However, the use of several relevant variables can be simplified because the assessment can also be made in situations where there are many different variables. Furthermore, selecting fewer variables can reduce redundancy (in the sense of avoiding closely related variables reflecting the same process) and help to obtain a simpler, workable index [ 40 ].

Coastal vulnerability studies using an index approach are often conducted from a global and regional perspective. Coastal vulnerability indicators are sometimes difficult to calculate due to the lack of basic data on the coastal sector that must be analyzed, especially in developing countries, which usually relate to: (i) the development of coastal trends, Due to the lack of (or difficult to obtain) aerial photographs, due to their high cost, accuracy and limited temporal and spatial distribution, and (ii) wave energy characteristics, due to the lack of wave buoy records or equivalent datasets. Furthermore, coastal vulnerability indicators usually cover large areas, which is a very useful management tool for coastal managers and researchers to have an overview of coastal vulnerability/vulnerability, for example inundation/erosion maps, but more detailed studies of suitable sites and many more. Time scales should be applied to decide the best adaptation strategies and/or any site-specific conservation measures.

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Regarding recent coastal vulnerability assessment results, an important issue is the reliability of the classification [ 40 ]. In other words, the study should check whether the area determined to have a high level of vulnerability is actually more vulnerable to marine processes and compare it with the results obtained from other related studies in the area, for example, floods. Hazard maps or damage information previously published. from various sources, such as newspapers and television reports, were accurately confirmed by field surveys [41].

The version is made as follows. Section 2 describes the variables used in

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