Coastal Vulnerability Index

​-  mapping to evaluate impacts of sea-level rise


Project description

The vulnerability of the coast is intimately correlated to its characteristics and the intricate physical processes that would affect its evolution. Geological Survey Ireland is undertaking a new coastal vulnerability mapping initiative. Maps produced in this project will provide an insight into the relative susceptibility of the Irish coast to adverse impacts of sea-level rise through the use of a Coastal Vulnerability Index (CVI). This method, based on physical parameters, was adapted to the local context to explore the relationships between drivers, (e.g.: sea level rise), geological boundary conditions and the coast's responses.

CVI will offer an easy visual representation of sensitive areas, enabling coastal managers to prioritize or concentrate efforts on adaptation. The main areas of vulnerability will be identified by both CVI and the analysis of individual variables, also called coastal indicators: geomorphology, cliff type, coastline orientation, regional coastal slope, tidal range, significant wave height, relative sea-level rise, and long-term shoreline erosion and accretion rates.




  • The first phase of CVI mapping (2019-2020) will map areas from north Co. Louth to Co. Wexford. This mapping will also include several data layers of the most relevant coastal indicators to allow the user to view both the coastal vulnerability index (CVI) and the data from which the CVI is calculated.
  • The maps and data here presented can be regarded as a base for developing a more complete inventory of variables influencing the coastal vulnerability to future sea-level rise to which other elements can be added as they become available.

Pilot case study

The Coastal Vulnerability Index (CVI) has already being tested on a pilot study run from Portrane to Arklow (Caloca-Casado, 2018). Most vulnerable areas from CVI analysis are shown in high (red) to low (blue) vulnerability ranking.

Coastal Vulnerability Index Map on pilot study from Portrane to Arklow