Relative Vulnerability of Indian Coastal Districts to Sea-Level Rise and Climate Extremes

In IRES Vol.6 No.1
Peer-reviewed Article

This study estimates the relative vulnerability of coastal districts of India using an integrated vulnerability index, which is defined as a function of the exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity of the districts to present and future climate risks. The study also ranks districts in terms of the likely number of human casualties due to potential surge associated with cyclonic storms. The results indicate that the districts on the east coast are relatively more vulnerable than those on the west coast. Relative rankings of the coastal districts based on predicted storm-induced casualties are similar to the rankings based on the integrated vulnerability index, indicating the robustness of the findings. The primary purpose of the relative vulnerability measures developed in this study is to provide insights on prioritizing adaptation for specifically vulnerable regions. The study discusses policy issues with reference to the “adapt to what” and “how to adapt” aspects of adaptation and argues in favor of avoiding maladaptation to present-day extreme climate events and harmonizing climate-change adaptation with integrated coastal-zone management practices.

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K.S. Kavi Kumar
S. Tholkappian