Risk and vulnerability analysis to coastal hazards: an approach to integrated assessment
Recent flood disasters like the Tsunami in South East Asia or the tremendous impacts of hurricane Katrina have pointed out the special vulnerability of coastal zones. Climate change, associated with an accelerating sea level rise and an increase of extreme events, is assumed to aggravate flood risk in the future so that improved hazard response and adaptation strategies are required. In this thesis it is analyzed how vulnerability assessment can contribute to interdisciplinary efforts of improving risk management including disaster preparedness and adaptation to climate change. An evaluation of existing methodologies for vulnerability assessment from global to local scale showed, that most studies were designed according to morphological or economic terms, whereas social and ecological vulnerability criteria as well as a systems’ coping ability have been widely neglected. Referring to these deficits a framework for integrated vulnerability assessment has been designed, within which a key set of indicators for composite coastal vulnerability and resilience has been developed. A special focus of this thesis was the analysis of risk perception and awareness of flood risks, which were investigated in a transnational study in the North Sea Region. The results of this study revealed, that there exists a vulnerability factor with regard to risk perception as it indicates capacity and thus is of outstanding relevance for risk assessment. Based on the results recommendations were given how to link vulnerability and risk management by utilizing indicator-based vulnerability assessment, converging approaches of disaster risk management and climate impact research, and operationalizing resilience.