Multi-hazards vulnerability assessment of southern coasts of Iran

J Environ Manage. 2019 Dec 15:252:109628. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2019.109628. Epub 2019 Oct 1.


Coastal vulnerability assessment has become one of the most important tools for decision making and providing effective managerial solutions to reduce adverse socio-economic impacts of multiple environmental hazards on coupled social-ecological systems of coastal areas. The aim of this study was to assess the vulnerability of the northern coasts of the Persian Gulf (PG) and the Gulf of Oman (GO) in the Hormozgan province of Iran. Nine variables of vulnerability that included the rate of coastline change, relative sea level rise, coastal slope, mean tidal range, coastal geomorphology, significant wave height (SWH), extreme storm surge, population density, and fishing intensity were weighted, mapped, and combined into the Coastal vulnerability index (CVI). Experts viewed sea level rise, shoreline change and extreme storm surge as most important for imparting vulnerabilities on the northern coasts of PG and GO. Socio-economic variables (i.e., population density and fishery intensity) were considered least important. Of the total length of the provincial shoreline, 27% were classified into the very low vulnerability class, 31% into the low, 17.4% into the moderate, 15.4% into the high, and 9.2% into the very high vulnerability class. About 1295 km (58%) of shorelines were classified into the low and very low vulnerability classes (CVI value ≤ 8.32) and mainly consisted of shorelines on the western coast along the PG. In contrast, 553 km (24.6%) of shorelines were classified into the high and very high vulnerability classes (CVI values > 13.39) and were located along the central coasts (especially in the Qeshm Island and Strait of Hormuz) and on the east coasts of the GO. At least a quarter of all shorelines in the province have high and very high vulnerability to environmental hazards that are the harbingers of climate change.

Keywords: Coastal vulnerability index; Northern coast of the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman; Vulnerability assessment.

MeSH terms

  • Climate Change*
  • Ecosystem*
  • Indian Ocean
  • Iran
  • Islands