Towards a Comparative Index of Seaport Climate Vulnerability: Developing Indicators from Open-data

Robert Duncan McIntosh, University of Rhode Island


In the face of climate change impacts projected over the coming century, seaport decision makers have the responsibility to manage risks for a diverse array of stakeholders and enhance seaport resilience against climate and weather impacts. At the single port scale, decision makers such as port managers may consider the uninterrupted functioning of their own port the number one priority. But, at the multi-port (regional or national) scale, policy-makers will need to prioritize competing port climate-adaptation needs in order to maximize the efficiency of limited physical and financial resources and maximize the resilience of the marine transportation system as a whole. Such multi-port decisions can be supported by information products such as indicator-based composite indices that allow for objective assessment of relative vulnerabilities among a sample of ports. This work assesses the current state of vulnerability assessments for seaports, then compiles and refines a set of candidate indicators of seaport climate and extreme-weather vulnerability from open-data sources for 22 major seaports of the United States’ North Atlantic region and creates and applies a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) instrument for expert-evaluation of the candidate indicators. Finally, this work applies the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) with port-experts to weight a selection of the indicators to examine the suitability of the indicator-based vulnerability assessment (IBVA) approach and available open-data to create a composite index of relative climate and extreme-weather vulnerability for the sample of ports.

Subject Area

Environmental science

Recommended Citation

Robert Duncan McIntosh, "Towards a Comparative Index of Seaport Climate Vulnerability: Developing Indicators from Open-data" (2018). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI10789476.