Gulizar Ozyurt, Aysen Ergin, Cuneyt Baykal


This paper discusses a parameter based coastal vulnerability assessment model to sea level rise. The model integrates physical characteristics and human activities with expert perception through an application of analytical hierarchy process (AHP). The results of AHP enables to assign weights to parameters of the model which determine vulnerability of a coastal area to the impacts of sea level rise such as coastal erosion, inundation, flooding due to storm surges, saltwater intrusion to groundwater and rivers. The results of AHP also indicates that sea level rise is not considered as one of the main driving forces of the impacts that might be already present contrary to the reports that state that sea level rise will trigger many problems along coastal areas. The application of the coastal vulnerability assessment model to two different coastal areas of Turkey showed that there is a need for overall evaluation of coastal areas in terms of vulnerability to sea level rise considering all the impacts. It is seen that assessing overall vulnerability is an important tool for national assessments. On the other hand, impact vulnerabilities are important when regional to local planning are considered since a region having a low overall vulnerability might show higher vulnerability for individual impacts. The proposed vulnerability methodology integrated with expert perception enables a simple yet effective representation of the coastal system while enabling decision makers to come up with proactive adaptation measures.


coastal vulnerability; sea level rise; analytical hierarchy process


Cheng, E.W.L. and Li, H., 2001. Analytic hierarchy process: An approach to determine measures for business performance. Measuring Business Excellence, 5(3): 30-36.

Harvey, N., Clouston, B. and Carvalho, P., 1999. Improving Coastal Vulnerability Assessment Methodologies for Integrated Coastal Zone Management: an Approach from South Australia. Australian Geographical Studies, 37(1): 50-69.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Staff, 2007. Fourth Assessment Report – Climate Change 2007: Mitigation, Vulnerability and Adaptation. Contribution of Working Group II to the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Kuruüzüm, A. and Atsan, N., 2001. Analitik hiyerarşi yöntemi ve işletmecilik alanindaki uygulamalari (the analytic hierarchy process approach and its applications in business). Akdeniz İ.İ.B.F. Dergisi 1. : 83-105.

Özyurt, G., 2007. Vulnerability of Coastal Areas to Sea Level Rise: A Case Study on Göksu Delta. Ankara, Turkey: Middle East Technical University, Master's thesis, 99p.

Özyurt, G. and Ergin, A., 2010. Improving coastal vulnerability assessments to sea-level rise: a new indicator based methodology for decision makers. Journal of Coastal Research. March 2010 West Palm Beach (Florida), ISSN0749-0208.

Ozyurt, G., 2010. Fuzzy Vulnerability Assessment of Coastal Areas to Sea Level Rise. Ankara, Turkey: Middle East Technical University, PhD thesis, 300p.

Saaty, L.T., 1980. The Analytic Hierarchy Process. McGraw-Hill Comp., U.S.A.

Saaty, T.L., 1994. How To Make A Decision: The Analytic Hierarchy Process. Interfaces, 24(6): 19-43.

Small C and Nicholls R J (2003) A Global Analysis of Human Settlement in Coastal Zones. Journal of Coastal Research 19: 584-599

Thieler, E.R. and Hammar-Klose, E.S., 2000. National Assessment of Coastal Vulnerability to Future Sea-Level Rise: Preliminary Results for the U.S. Atlantic Coast. U.S. Geological Survey, Open File Report, pp. 99–593.

Full Text: PDF

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.