Document details

A coastal and social vulnerability assessment to climatic hazards in Jamaica

Author(s): Palmer, Tami

Date: 2017

Persistent ID:

Origin: Repositório Institucional da UNL

Subject(s): Climate change; Climatic events; Coastal Vulnerability; Desinventar Disaster database; InVEST Model


Coastal areas provide habitats that are a source of natural protection, food, recreation, and livelihood. These ecosystems are designed to withstand the threat of natural hazards to protect inland areas. However, dynamic, and extreme climatic changes threaten to damage such areas, particularly in low-lying, small island states as Jamaica. With the Coastal Vulnerability Index (CVI) method, areas of coastal exposure were identified and assessed using the InVEST Model. It was found that 23% of the coastline is highly exposed to climatic hazards across 177 communities. Validation of the model outputs with the Disaster Inventory DesInventar Database revealed that there was statistical evidence to state that significantly more frequent events causing damage and loss of life or property occurred in areas the model identified as highly exposed than in the less exposed areas. The island's socio-economic conditions at the parish level were analyzed with descriptive statistics to determine that 48% of the population has at least one unmet basic need, with the South to South-East parishes comparably more vulnerable due to the population size and exposure in coastal areas. Therefore, the findings of this assessment will be useful for disaster planning and coastal conservation and may be replicated in similar countries, especially surrounding islands towards a regional assessment. The creation of a combined coastal and social vulnerability index provides a balanced view of both major concerns on the susceptibility of populated coastal regions. This index is critical to the advancement of how we can comparatively quantify these characteristics and highlight areas for holistic improvement of lives, not addressing both concerns in isolation.

Dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Geospatial Technologies

Document Type Master thesis
Language English
Advisor(s) Cabral, Pedro da Costa Brito; Granell-Canut, Carlos; Pebesma, Edzer
Contributor(s) Palmer, Tami
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