Coastal Hazard Wheel

Coastal Hazard WheelSource: UNEP

Coastal Hazard Wheel
Source: UNEP Risoe Centre

This crossed my virtual desk yesterday. I do so like wheel graphics, and this seems like good tool for basic assessment of potential hazards to coastlines, as well. Using a number of different elements such as geological layout (coastal plain, sloping hard rock, coral island, etc.), tidal range, sediment balance and so on, the user can find the configuration of a given coastline, then trace upwards to what the main points of vulnerability might be. It’s a low-tech tool, and seems to me like a good means for those involved with coastline protection to determine what measures might be taken for their kind of exposure to prevent as much damage as possible. I suppose the next step will be a smartphone app. The accompanying article link is included below and makes for interesting reading.

For me, this wheel fulfills the basic ‘form and function’ criteria of a good tool: It’s pleasing to the eye, and it looks both easy and efficient to use.

From the announcement:

This is to announce the publication of a new tool for coastal hazard assessment, termed the Coastal Hazard Wheel.

The tool will allow coastal planners and developers to easily assess the hazard profile of a given coastal stretch under changing climatic conditions. It is applicable at local, regional and national scale and provides a simple screening system to support public and private management decisions in coastal areas.

The tool is developed to cover all coastal environments worldwide through a specially designed coastal classification system, building on key bio-geophysical parameters. It provides information on the degree to which key climate change hazards are inherent in a particular coastal environment, and covers the hazards of ecosystem disruption, gradual inundation, salt water intrusion, erosion and flooding.

The Coastal Hazard Wheel is especially targeted decision-makers in developing countries, where data may be unavailable or difficult to obtain. It can therefore be applied in areas lacking geophysical data collection systems. In areas where data are readily available, it can provide a useful tool for hazard screening and a starting point for deciding on more extensive hazard evaluations.

The tool is available as a one-page handout of the Coastal Hazard Wheel and a background paper giving detailed information on the assessment procedure. The handout is included in this mail and the background paper can be downloaded with open access at

Thanks to Lars Rosendahl Appelquist for permission to reprint his wheel here!