Comprehensive Assessment of Vulnerability to Storm Surges in Coastal China: Towards a Prefecture-Level Cities Perspective

Remote Sensing(2023)

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Abstract
China is one of the countries that suffers severe damage from storm surges. Assessing the vulnerability to storm surges holds great significance for promoting sustainable development and minimizing disaster losses in coastal areas. This study first developed a vulnerability index by integrating 15 indicators from three components (exposure, sensitivity, and adaptability) that provide a comprehensive portrayal of the multidimensional structure of vulnerability. Subsequently, the vulnerability of Chinese coastal areas was comprehensively evaluated from the perspective of prefecture-level cities using a weight combination strategy. Furthermore, spatial statistical techniques were utilized to analyze the spatial heterogeneity of vulnerability. The results show that 64% of coastal cities are classified as being in the very high and high vulnerability categories, with Zhanjiang, Lingao, Dalian, Yancheng, and Shanwei exhibiting the highest vulnerability levels. Among the provinces, Guangxi and Hainan Provinces demonstrate the highest vulnerability, with more than 90% of their coastal cities facing high vulnerability. Additionally, the vulnerability of Chinese coastal cities exhibits significant spatial heterogeneity. Specifically, coastal cities located in the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta regions are identified as low–low (LL) vulnerability clusters, whereas high–high (HH) vulnerability clusters are observed in coastal cities within the Beibu Gulf region. These results provide valuable insights for the formulation of disaster reduction policies at the provincial level and the focus for action at the local level.
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Key words
storm surges,coastal china,prefecture-level
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