Seaport Climate Vulnerability Assessment at the Multi-port Scale: A Review of Approaches

Conference paper
Part of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Series C: Environmental Security book series (NAPSC)


In the face of climate change impacts projected over the coming century, seaport decision makers have the responsibility to manage risks for a diverse array of stakeholders and enhance seaport resilience against climate and weather impacts. At the single port scale, decision makers such as port managers may consider the uninterrupted functioning of their port the number one priority. But, at the multi-port (regional or national) scale, policy-makers will need to prioritize competing port climate-adaptation needs in order to maximize the efficiency of limited physical and financial resources and maximize the resilience of the marine transportation system as a whole. This chapter provides an overview of a variety of approaches that set out to quantify various aspects of seaport vulnerability. It begins with discussion of the importance of a “multi-port” approach to complement the single case study approach more commonly applied to port assessments. It then addresses the components of climate vulnerability assessments and provides examples of a variety of approaches. Finally, it concludes with recommendations for next steps.


Seaport Port Shipping Climate assessment CIAV CCVA Resilience Climate change vulnerability assessment Comparative assessment Multi-port assessment Indicator-based assessment Regional scale assessment 

Further Suggested Readings

  1. Barnett J, Lambert S, Fry I (2008) The hazards of indicators: insights from the environmental vulnerability index. Ann Assoc Am Geogr 98(1):102–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Becker A, Caldwell MR (2015) Stakeholder perceptions of seaport resilience strategies: a case study of Gulfport (Mississippi) and Providence (Rhode Island). Coast Manag 43(1):1–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Becker A, Wilson A, Bannon R, McCann J, Robadue D (2010) Rhode Island ports & commercial harbors: a GIS-based inventory of current uses and infrastructure, edited by Susan Kennedy. Rhode Island Statewide Planning Program, US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway AdministrationGoogle Scholar
  4. Becker A, Inoue S, Fischer M, Schwegler B (2011a) Climate change impacts on international seaports: knowledge, perceptions, and planning efforts among port administrators. Clim Chang 110(1–2):5–29. doi: 10.1007/s10584-011-0043-7 Google Scholar
  5. Becker A, Newell D, Fischer M, Schwegler B (2011b) Will ports become forts? Climate change impacts, opportunities and challenges. Terra et Aqua 122:11–17Google Scholar
  6. Becker A, Acciaro M, Asariotis R, Cabrera E, Cretegny L, Crist P, Esteban M, Mather A, Messner S, Naruse S, Ng AKY, Rahmstorf S, Savonis M, Song DW, Stenek V, Velegrakis AF (2013) A note on climate change adaptation for seaports: a challenge for global ports, a challenge for global society. Clim Chang 120(4):683–695. doi: DOI 10.1007/s10584-013-0843-zCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Becker A, Toilliez J, Mitchell T (2015) Considering sea level change when designing marine civil works: recommendations for best practices. In: Esteban M, Takagi H, Shibayama T (eds) Handbook of coastal disaster mitigation for engineers and planners. Elsevier, WalthamGoogle Scholar
  8. Becker A, Chase NTL, Fischer M, Schwegler B, Mosher K (2016) A method to estimate climate-critical construction materials applied to seaport protection. Glob Environ Chang 40:125–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Berle Ø, Asbjørnslett BE, Rice JB (2011) Formal vulnerability assessment of a maritime transportation system. Reliab Eng Syst Saf 96(6):696–705CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bright EA, Coleman PR (2003) LandScan 2002. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak RidgeGoogle Scholar
  11. Chhetri P, Corcoran J, Gekara V, Maddox C, McEvoy D (2014) Seaport resilience to climate change: mapping vulnerability to sea-level rise. J Spat Sci 60:1–14. doi: 10.1080/14498596.2014.943311 Google Scholar
  12. Cox RJ, Panayotou K, Cornwell RM (2013) Climate risk assessment for Avatiu Port and connected infrastructure. Water Research Lab, University of New South WalesGoogle Scholar
  13. Cutter SL, Burton CG, Emrich CT (2010) Disaster resilience indicators for benchmarking baseline conditions. J Homeland Secur Emergen Manag 7(1). doi: 10.2202/1547-7355.1732
  14. Eriksen SH, Mick Kelly P (2007) Developing credible vulnerability indicators for climate adaptation policy assessment. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Chang 12(4):495–524CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. ESPO (2010) Work Package 1 (WP1): pre-selection of an initial set of indicators. In: PPRISM: Port PeRformance Indicators: Selection and Measurement. European Sea Ports Organization (ESPO)Google Scholar
  16. ESPO (2011) Work Package 2 (WP2): stakeholders’ dialogue to evaluate and select a shortlist of indicators. In: PPRISM: Port PeRformance Indicators: Selection and Measurement. European Sea Ports Organization (ESPO)Google Scholar
  17. ESPO (2012) Project Executive report (PPRISM WP4 D4.2). In: PPRISM: Port PeRformance Indicators: Selection and Measurement. European Sea Ports Organization (ESPO)Google Scholar
  18. Gallopin GC (1997) Indicators and their use: information for decision-making. In: Boldan B, Bilharz S (eds) Sustainability indicators. A report on the project on indicators of sustainable development. SCOPE, pp 13–27Google Scholar
  19. Gallopín GC (2006) Linkages between vulnerability, resilience, and adaptive capacity. Glob Environ Chang 16(3):293–303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gudmundsson H (2003) The policy use of environmental indicators—learning from evaluation research. J Transdiscipl Environ Stud 2(2):1–12Google Scholar
  21. Hanson S, Nicholls R, Ranger N, Hallegatte S, Corfee-Morlot J, Herweijer C, Chateau J (2010) A global ranking of port cities with high exposure to climate extremes. Clim Chang 104(1):89–111. doi: 10.1007/s10584-010-9977-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hinkel J (2011) "Indicators of vulnerability and adaptive capacity": towards a clarification of the science-policy interface. Glob Environ Chang Hum Policy Dimens 21(1):198–208. doi: DOI 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2010.08.002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hsieh C-H, Tai H-H, Lee Y-N (2013) Port vulnerability assessment from the perspective of critical infrastructure interdependency. Marit Policy Manag 41(6):589–606. doi: 10.1080/03088839.2013.856523 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. IMO (2012) International shipping facts and figures – information resources on trade, safety, security, environment. Maritime Knowledge Centre, International Maritime OrganizationGoogle Scholar
  25. IPCC (2012) Managing the risks of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation: Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (SREX). Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  26. IPCC (2013) Climate change 2013: the physical science basis: working group I contribution to the fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. In: Stocker T, Qin D, Plattner G-K, Tignor M, Allen SK, Boschung J, Nauels A, Xia Y, Bex V, Midgley PM (eds) Fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge/New YorkGoogle Scholar
  27. IPCC (2014a) Climate change 2014: impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. Part A: global and sectoral aspects. Contribution of working group II to the fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. In: Fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge/New YorkGoogle Scholar
  28. IPCC (2014b) WGII AR5 glossary. In: Fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. IPCC, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  29. Jharkharia S, Shankar R (2007) Selection of logistics service provider: an analytic network process (ANP) approach. OMEGA Int J Manag Sci 35(3):274–289. doi: DOI 10.1016/ CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Klein RJT (2009) Identifying countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change: an academic or political challenge. Carbon Climate L Rev,284Google Scholar
  31. Koppe B, Schmidt M, Strotmann T (2012) IAPH-report on seaports and climate change and implementation case study for the port of HamburgGoogle Scholar
  32. Linkov I, Bridges T, Creutzig F, Decker J, Fox-Lent C, Kröger W, Lambert JH, Levermann A, Montreuil B, Nathwani J, Nyer R, Renn O, Scharte B, Scheffler A, Schreurs M, Thiel-Clemen T (2014) Changing the resilience paradigm. Nat Clim Chang 4(6):407–409. doi: 10.1038/nclimate2227 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. MARAD (2016) Marine Transportation System (MTS). Maritime Administration. Accessed 0n 25 May 2016.
  34. McGranahan G, Balk D, Anderson B (2007) The rising tide: assessing the risks of climate change and human settlements in low elevation coastal zones. Environ Urban 19(1):17–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Melillo JM, Richmond TTC, Yohe GW (2014) Climate change impacts in the United States. In The third national climate assessment, US Global Change Research ProgramGoogle Scholar
  36. Messner S, Moran L, Reub G, Campbell J (2013) Climate change and sea level rise impacts at ports and a consistent methodology to evaluate vulnerability and risk. ENVIRON International CorpGoogle Scholar
  37. Morris LL, Sempier T (2016) Ports resilience index: a port management self-assessment. U.S. Department of Commerce, Gulf of Mexico AllianceGoogle Scholar
  38. Nicholls RJ, Hanson S, Herweijer C, Patmore N, Hallegatte S, Corfee-Morlot J, Château J, Muir-Wood R (2008) Ranking port cities with high exposure and vulnerability to climate extremes: exposure Estimates. In: OECD environment working papers. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, ParisGoogle Scholar
  39. NOAA OCM (2015) Port tomorrow: port resilience planning tool [Prototype]. NOAA Office for Coastal Management. Accessed on 3 Apr 2015.
  40. Obama B (2013) Presidential policy directive 21: critical infrastructure security and resilience. Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  41. Peduzzi P (2014) Sand, rarer than one thinks. Environ Dev 11:208–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. PIANC Inland Navigation Commission (2010) Performance indicators for inland waterways transport: user guideline, PIANC Report No. 111. The World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure (PIANC), BruxellesGoogle Scholar
  43. Preston BL (2012) Climate change vulnerability assessment: from conceptual frameworks to practical heuristics. CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship Working paperGoogle Scholar
  44. Rosati JD (2015) PhD, PE, D.CE, Coastal & Hydraulics Laboratory, Engineer Research & Development Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Personal Communication. Accessed on 01 Oct 2015Google Scholar
  45. Semppier TT, Swann DL, Emmer R, Sempier SH, Schneider M (2010) Coastal community resilience index: a community self-assessment. Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant ConsortiumGoogle Scholar
  46. Smit B, Wandel J (2006) Adaptation, adaptive capacity and vulnerability. Glob Environ Chang 16(3):282–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. The National Academies (2012) Disaster resilience: a national imperative. edited by Committee on Increasing National Resilience to Hazards and Disasters; Committee and Engineering on Science, and Public Policy. Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  48. USCMTS (2011) Strategic action plan for research and development in the marine transportation system. US Committee on the Marine Transportation System, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  49. USCMTS (2015) Marine transportation system performance measures: executive summary. 1200 New Jersey Ave SE. Washington, DC. 20590: U.S. Committee on the Marine Transportation System, Research and Development Integrated Action TeamGoogle Scholar
  50. USDOT (2014) Impacts of climate change and variability on transportation systems and infrastructure the gulf coast study, phase 2 screening for vulnerability final report, Task 3.1. edited by ICF International. US Department of Transportation, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  51. WMO (2015) The state of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere based on global observations through 2014. In: Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. World Meteorological Organization, GenevaGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Marine AffairsUniversity of Rhode IslandKingstonUSA

Personalised recommendations