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An Approach for the Validation of a Coastal Erosion Vulnerability Index: An Application in Sicily

  • Authors: Giorgio Manno; Grazia Azzara; Carlo Lo Re; Chiara Martinello; Mirko Basile; Edoardo Rotigliano; Giuseppe Ciraolo
  • Publication year: 2023
  • Type: Articolo in rivista
  • OA Link:


In recent decades, coastal erosion phenomena have increased due to climate change. The increased frequency and intensity of extreme events and the poor sediment supply by anthropized river basins (dams, river weirs, culverts, etc.) have a crucial role in coastal erosion. Therefore, an integrated analysis of coastal erosion is crucial to produce detailed and accurate coastal erosion vulnerability information to support mitigation strategies. This research aimed to assess the erosion vulnerability of the Sicilian coast, also including a validation procedure of the obtained scenario. The coastal vulnerability was computed by means of the CeVI (Coastal Erosion Vulnerability Index) approach, which considers physical indicators such as geomorphology and geology, coastal slope, sea storms, wave maxima energy flux and sediment supply to river mouths. Each indicator was quantified using indexes which were assessed considering transects orthogonal to the coastline in 2020. These transects were clustered inside natural compartments called littoral cells. Each cell was assumed to contain a complete cycle of sedimentation and not to have sediment exchange with the near cells. Physical parameters were identified to define a new erosion vulnerability index for the Sicilian coast. By using physical indexes (geological/geomorphological, erosion/sediment supply, sea storms, etc.), the CeVI was calculated both for each littoral cell and for the transects that fall into retreating/advancing coastal areas. The vulnerability index was then validated by comparing CeVI values and the coastline change over time. The validation study showed a direct link between the coastline retreat and high values of CeVI. The proposed method allowed for a detailed mapping of the Sicilian coastal vulnerability, and it will be useful for coastal erosion risk management purposes.