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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Environmental Geosciences (DEG)


AAPG Division of Environmental Geosciences Journal
Vol. 7 (2000), No. 3., Pages 149-161

Application of a Geographical Information System for Risk Assessment on Open Ocean Beaches: Collaroy/Narrabeen Beach, Sydney, Australia—An Example

Catharina A. Greve, Peter J. Cowell, Bruce G. Thom


The need of assessing the impacts of natural Previous HithazardsTop such as sea level rise and storm surge for coastal areas becomes more and more important as an increase in human population in these areas is apparent. Focusing on New South Wales, where the majority of the population is located in the coastal zone, the aspects of a rising sea level and potential storm surge have to be considered. This situation will worsen as the highest population growth is found in coastal local government areas. Collaroy/Narrabeen Beach has the most intense and highly capitalized shoreline development in New South Wales. Given that risk (R) is a function of hazard (H) and vulnerability (V) over time (t); i.e., R = f (H, V, t) expressed in monetary terms, Collaroy/Narrabeen Beach is the beach most at risk in New South Wales. By using already available information, such as property information data from local government or hazard information from the New South Wales Department of Land and Water Conservation, a formal method is developed and incorporated into a geographical information system to assess quickly areas at risk. A generalized risk zone then represents possible present and future areas at risk weighted in terms of hazard level and exposure values.

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