Natural Hazards

, Volume 73, Issue 3, pp 1369–1392 | Cite as

Coastal sensitivity assessment for Thiruvananthapuram, west coast of India

  • J. ShajiEmail author
Original Paper


The densely populated coastline of Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala, along the southwest coast of India, is sensitive to sea surge and severe coastal erosion. The December 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami had inundated several parts of this coastal zone, indicating nature of sensitivity. The present study is an attempt to develop a coastal sensitivity index (CSI) for Thiruvananthapuram coast within the framework of coastal sediment cells. Seven variables, namely (a) coastal slope, (b) geomorphology, (c) shoreline change, (d) mean sea-level rise, (e) nearshore slope, (f) significant wave height and (g) mean tide range, were adopted in calculation of CSI (the square root of the product of the ranked variables divided by the number of variables). Remote sensing data, topographic maps supported by field work and data from numerical models are used in geographic information system environment to generate CS index for each kilometer segment of this 76-km coastline. This study reveals that 72 % of the Thiruvananthapuram coastline falls in the high sensitive category. This exercise, first of its kind for Kerala coast will be useful for disaster mitigation and management.


Coastal sensitivity index Sediment cell Geographic information system Thiruvananthapuram 



The author would like to thank Dr.Srikumar Chattopadhyay, Head (Retd), Resources Analysis Division, Center for Earth Sciences Studies (CESS), for supervising and providing encouragement to do this work. Thanks are also due to Dr.N.P.Kurian, Director, CESS, for providing facility to complete this work and the Global Land Cover Facility, for providing the Landsat TM, ETM + remote sensing data. I appreciate the reviewers and comments on an earlier draft to the manuscript provided by anonymous peer reviewers.


  1. Abuodha PAO, Woodroffe CD (2010) Assessing vulnerability to sea-level rise using a coastal sensitivity index: a case study from southeast Australia. J Coast Conserv 14:189–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abuodha AOP, Woodrooffe CD (2010) Assessing vulnerability to sea level rise using a coastal sensitivity index: a case study from southeast Australia. J Coast Conserv 14:189–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anfuso G, Pozo JAMD (2009) Assessment of coastal vulnerability through the use of GIS tools in South Sicily (Italy). Environ Manage 43:533–545Google Scholar
  4. Arun Kumar A, Pravin Kunte D (2012) Coastal vulnerability assessment for Chennai, east coast of India using geospatial techniques. Springer, Natural Hazards, pp 853–872Google Scholar
  5. Belperio T, Bourman B, Bryan B, Harvey N (2001) Distributed process modeling for regional assessment of coastal vulnerability to sea level rise. Environ Model Assess 6(1):57–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bender MA, Knutson TR, Tuleya RE, Sirutis JJ, Vecchi GA, Garner ST, Held IM (2010) Modeled impact of antropogenic warming on the frequency of intense Atantic hurricanes. Science 327(5964):454–458CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Boateng I (2012) GIS assessment of coastal vulnerability to climate change and coastal adaptation planning in Vietnam. J Coast Conserv 16:25–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Boruff B, Emrich C, Cutter SL (2005) Erosion hazard vulnerability of US coastal countries. J Coast Res 21(5):932–942CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Church JA, Gregory JM, (2001) Climate change 2001: working group I: the scientific basis, IPCC, chapter 11Google Scholar
  10. Di Paola G, Aucelli PPC, Benssai G, Rodriguez G (2013) Coastal vulnerability to wave storms of Sele Littoral Plain (Southern Italy). Nat HazardsGoogle Scholar
  11. Dinesh Kumar PK (2006) Potential vulnerability implications of sea level rise for the coastal zones of Cochin, Southwest Coast of India. Environ Monit Assess 123:333–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Domniney- Howes D, Papathoma M (2003) Tsunami vulnerability assessment and its implication for coastal hazard analysis and disaster management planning Gulf of Corinth, Greece. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci 3:733–747CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Duriyapong F, Nakhapakorn K (2011) Coastal vulnerability assessment: a case study of Samut Sakhon coastal zone. Songklanakarin J Sci Technol 33(4):469–476Google Scholar
  14. Dwarakish GS, Vinay SA, Natesan U, Asano T, Kakinuma T, Venkataramana K, Jagadeesha Pai B, Babita MK (2009) Coastal vulnerability assessment of the future sea level rise in Udupi coastal zone of Karnataka state, West coast of India. Ocean Coast Manag 52(9):467–478CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. EUROSION (2004). A guide to coastal erosion management practices in Europe. Contract B4-3301/2001/329175/MAR/B3. Prepared by Rijkswaterstaat/RIKZ, Hague, NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  16. Gaki-Papanastassiou K, Karymbalis E, Poulos S, Seni A, Zouva C (2011) Coastal Vulnerability assessment to sea-level rise based on geomorphologic and oceanographical parameters: the case of Argolikos Gulf, Peloponnese, Greece. Hell J Geosci 45:109–121Google Scholar
  17. Gornitz V (1990) Vulnerability of the east coast, USA to future sea level rise. J Coast Res 1(9):201–237Google Scholar
  18. Hegde AV, Raju VR (2007) Development of coastal vulnerability index for Mangalore coast, India. J Coast Res 23:1106–1111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hong H, Cui S, Zheng L (2006) A coastal vulnerability index and its application in Xiamen China. Aquat Ecosyst Health Manag 9(3):333–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. INCCA (Indian Network for Climate Change Assessment) (2010) Climate change and India: a 4x4 assessment, a sectoral and regional analysis for 2030′s. Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India, pp 45–53Google Scholar
  21. Indian Tide Table (2010, 2011). Survey of India, Dehra DunGoogle Scholar
  22. IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) (2007) Climate change 2007: the physical science basis. In: Solomon S, Qin D, Manning M (eds.) Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate ChangeGoogle Scholar
  23. IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) (2012) IPCC special report on managing the risks of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation. A special report of Working Groups I and II of IPCC, Cambridge University PressGoogle Scholar
  24. Karymbalis E, Chalkias C, Chalkias G, Grigoropoulou E, Manthos G, Ferentinou M (2012) Assessment of the sensitivity of the southern coast of the Gulf of Corinth (Peloponnese, Greece) to sea-level rise. Cent Euro J Geosci 4(4):561–577CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Klein RJT, Reese S, Sterr H (2000) Climate change and coastal zones: an overview of the state-of-the-art on regional and local vulnerability. In: Giupponi C, Shechther M (eds) Climate change in the Mediterranean: socio-economic perspective of impacts, vulnerability and adaptation. Edward Elgar publishing, Camberley, pp 245–278Google Scholar
  26. Knutson TR, McBride JL, Chan J, Emmanuel K, Holland G, Landsea C, Held I, Kossin JP, Srivasta AK, Sugi M (2010) Tropical cyclones and climate change. Nat Geosci 3:157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kurian NP, Praveen SS (2010) Tsunami wave propagation in the Arabian in the Arabian Sea and its implications on run-up/inundation characteristics along the Kerala coast. Indian J Geo-marine Sci 39(4):531–540Google Scholar
  28. Kwasi Appeaning Addo (2013) Assessing coastal vulnerability index to climate change: the case of Accra-Ghana, J Coast Res, Special issue no. 65, pp 1892–1897Google Scholar
  29. Lin N, Emanuel K, Oppenheimer K, Vanmarcke E (2012) Physically based assessment of hurricane surge threat under climate change. Nat Clim Change 2:462–467Google Scholar
  30. Mahendra RS, Mohanty PC, Bisoyi H, Srinivasa Kumar T, Nayak S (2011) Assessment and management of coastal multi-hazard vulnerability along the Cuddalore–Villupuram, east coast of India using geospatial techniques. Ocean Coast Manag 54(4):302–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Murali Mani R, Ankita M, Amrita S, Vethamony P (2013) Coastal vulnerability of Puducherry coast, India using analytical hierarchical process. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci Discuss 1:509–559CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nageswara Roa K, Subraelu P, Venkateswara Rao T, Hema Malini B, Ratheesh R, Bhattacharya S, Rajawat AS, Ajai (2008) Sea level rise and coastal vulnerability: an assessment of Andhra Pradesh coast, India through remote sensing and GIS. J Coast Conserv 12:195–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Nunn PD, Ravuvu AD (1994) Integrated Coastal Zone Management Programme Western Samoa and Assessment of Coastal Vulnerability and Resilience to sea-level rise and climate change case study: Yasawa Islands. Development of Methodology for Fiji Islands, Phase IIGoogle Scholar
  34. Nuno Martins V, Pires R, Cabral P (2012) Modelling of coastal vulnerability in the stretch between the beaches of Port de maos and Falesia, Algarve (Portugal). J Coast Conserv 16:503–510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ozyurt G, Ergin A (2010) Improving coastal vulnerability assessments to sea-level rise: a new indicator based methodology for decision makers. J Coast Res 26:265–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pendleton EA, Thieler ER, Jeffress SW (2005) Coastal vulnerability assessment of golden gate national recreation area to sea-level rise. USGS Open-File Report, pp 1058Google Scholar
  37. Pendleton EA, Thieler ER, Williams SJ (2010) Importance of coastal change variables in determining vulnerability to sea-level change. J Coast Res 26(1):176–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pethick J (2008) Coastal cell: definition and identification, a manual for coastal managers. Background material for training programme organized by Ministry of Earth and Forests, Government of India, hosted by Department of Environment, Government of West Bengal, pp 3–5Google Scholar
  39. Pradeep Kumar A, Thakur N K (2007) Role of bathymetry in Tsunami devastation along the east coast of India. Curr Sci 92(2):432–434Google Scholar
  40. Rajawat AS, Bhatacharya S, Jain S, Gupta M, Jayaprasad P, Tamilarasan V, Ajai, Nayak S (2006) Coastal vulnerability mapping for the Indian Coast. Second international symposium on geoinformation for disaster management. International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Dona Paula Goa, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  41. Rao AD (2007) Vulnerability from storm surges and cyclones with wind fields on the coast of Andhra Pradesh, India. Nat Hazards 41:515–529CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sahin Oz, Mohamed S (2014) Coastal vulnerability to sea level rise: a spatial–temporal assessment framework. Nat Hazards 70:395–414CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Schaefer M, Hare W, Rahmstorf S, Vermeer M (2012) Long-term sea level rise implied by 1.5 degrees C and 2 degrees C warming levels. Nat Clim Change 2:867–870Google Scholar
  44. Shaw J, Taylor RB, Forbes DL, Ruz MH, Solomon S (1998) Sensitivity of the Canadian Coast to Sea-Level Rise. Geological Survey of Canada Bulletin, pp 114Google Scholar
  45. Sheik Mujabar P, Chandrasekhar N (2013) Coastal erosion hazard and vulnerability for Southern Tamil Nadu of India by using remote sensing and GIS. Nat Hazards 2013(69):1295–1314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Srinivasa Kumar T, Mahendra RS, Nayak S, Radhakrishnan K, Sahu KC (2010) Coastal vulnerability assessment for Orissa State, east coast of India. J Coast Res 26(3):523–534CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Thieler ER, Hammer-Klose ES (1999) National assessment of coastal vulnerability to sea-level rise, US Atlantic Coast: US Geological Survey Open-File ReportGoogle Scholar
  48. Thomas KV (1990) Beach-Surf Zone Morphodynamics along A Wave-Dominated Coast. Ph.D thesis submitted to CUSAT, Kerala, pp 46–48Google Scholar
  49. Tibbetts JR, Van Proosdij D (2013) Development of a relative coastal vulnerability index in a macro-tidal environment for climate change adaptation. J Coast Conserv 17:775–797CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. USGS (United States Geological Survey) (2001) National assessment of coastal vulnerability to sea level rise: preliminary results for the U.S. Gulf of Mexico Coast.http://pubs.usgs
  51. Vermeer M, Ramstorfs S (2009) Global sea level linked to global temperature. Proc Natl Acad Sci 106(51):21527CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Yin J, Yin Z, Wang J, Shiyuan X (2012) National assessment of coastal vulnerability to sea level rise for the Chinese coast. J Coast Conserv 16:123–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Scholar, Resources Analysis DivisionCentre for Earth Sciences StudiesThiruvananthapuramIndia

Personalised recommendations