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Coastal vulnerability assessment of Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park to sea-level rise

March 30, 2021

A coastal vulnerability index (CVI) was used to map the relative vulnerability of the coast to future sea-level rise within Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park in Hawaii. The CVI ranks the following in terms of their physical contribution to sea-level rise-related coastal change: geomorphology, regional coastal slope, rate of relative sea-level rise, historical shoreline change rates, mean tidal range and mean significant wave height. The rankings for each input variable were combined, and an index value calculated for 500-meter grid cells covering the park. The CVI highlights those regions where the physical effects of sea-level rise might be the greatest. This approach combines the coastal system's susceptibility to change with its natural ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions, yielding a quantitative, although relative, measure of the park's natural vulnerability to the effects of sea-level rise. The CVI provides an objective technique for evaluation and long-term planning by scientists and park managers. Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park consists of carbonate sand beaches, coral rubble, rocky shoreline, and mangrove wetland areas. The areas within Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park that are likely to be most vulnerable to sea-level rise based on this analysis are areas of unconsolidated sediment and highest wave energy.