PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2016, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (7): 889-897.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2016.07.010

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A review of research on vulnerability to storm surges

Xianwu SHI1(), Zhixing GUO1, Yao ZHANG1, Jiayi FANG2, Kejia HU3, Qinzheng LIU1   

  1. 1. National Marine Hazard Mitigation Service, Beijing 100194, China
    2. Academy of Disaster Reduction and Emergency Management, Ministry of Civil Affairs & Ministry of Education, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    3. Ocean College, Zhejiang University, Zhoushan 316021, Zhejiang, China
  • Received:2016-01-01 Revised:2016-05-01 Online:2016-07-20 Published:2016-07-20
  • Supported by:
    Foundation: National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41501560; National Marine Public Industry Research Project, No.201505018, No.201305020


Vulnerability is a hot topic in natural disaster risk research. Vulnerability to storm surges not only depends on the distribution of population and socioeconomic values, but also the frequency and intensity of storm surges, as well as the coastal environment. This article systematically reviewed the progress of research on social vulnerability and physical vulnerability to storm surges, focusing mainly on the physical vulnerability of population, coastal defenses, and buildings. Uncertainties in vulnerability assessment were analyzed, and the application of storm surge vulnerability assessment in the field of rapid loss assessment, insurance, reinsurance, and disaster mitigation and adaptation were discussed. Finally, future avenues of storm surge vulnerability research were presented: (1) Quantitative storm surge vulnerability curves of typical exposure units need to be developed for application in the field of disaster insurance claims and loss assessment; (2) Standardized vulnerability assessment method of storm surge for typical exposure units needs to be established through field survey, physical experiments, and numerical simulation in response to the potential increase of catastrophe risk in the coastal area of China under global climate change.

Key words: storm surge, social vulnerability, physical vulnerability, uncertainty, review