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J Indian Soc Remote Sens

DOI 10.1007/s12524-012-0251-2

RESEARCH ARTICLE

Assessment of Coastal Erosion Vulnerability around


Midnapur-Balasore Coast, Eastern India using
Integrated Remote Sensing and GIS Techniques
Adarsa Jana & Amit K. Bhattacharya

Received: 1 December 2011 / Accepted: 13 November 2012


# Indian Society of Remote Sensing 2013

Abstract Digha coastal region in the northeastern part


of the Bay of Bengal is potentially vulnerable to erosional hazard. The present study assessed the coastal
erosion vulnerability along this 65 km long coastal
stretch located between Rasulpur (Midnapur) and
Subarnarekha (Balasore) estuarine complex, which had
been subjected to anthropogenic intervention. Multiresolution Landsat satellite imagery were used for shoreline change study from 1972 to 2010. During this period, accretion was recorded updrift of artificial structures,
viz, seawall, groin, pylons and jetties; while, extensive
erosion was recorded in downdrift areas of these structures. Assessment was subsequently divided into four
categories ranging from high erosion to accretion.
Data from several sources were compiled to map landuse and human activities in the coastal zone. This map
was divided into four categories, ranging from very
high capital to no capital landuse. Population density
map of the surrounding coastal villages was generated
using census data, and divided into four categories
ranging from high density area to very low density
area. Subsequently, coastal erosion vulnerability was
assessed by combining coastal retreat with landuse type
and population density in this study area using simple
vector algebraic technique. Zones of vulnerability of
A. Jana : A. K. Bhattacharya (*)
Department of Geology and Geophysics,
Indian Institute of Technology,
Kharagpur 721302 West Bengal, India
e-mail: amkb@gg.iitkgp.ernet.in

different magnitude (viz., very high, high, moderate,


and low) have been identified. Furthermore, calculation
of imminent collapse zone (ICZ) shows that maximum values are around artificial structures and anthropogenic activities. The coastal erosion vulnerability map
prepared from this study can be used for proper planning
and management of this coastal region.
Keywords Coastal erosion . Landuse . Population .
Coastal vulnerability index . Landsat data .
Imminent collapse zone (ICZ)

Introduction
The shoreline is highly dynamic and changes temporally and spatially in response to variations in coastal
processes (Carter 1988; Bird 1993; Forbes et al. 2004).
Over time frames of less than a year, the major factor
influencing shoreline change is seasonal wave climate
(Masselink and Pattiaratchi 2001). Considering decadal time frames, the important factors influencing
shoreline change includes the impacts of large storms
and tsunamis (Cooper et al. 2004; Scheffers et al.
2005). The factors that influence long-term shoreline
changes are sea level rise, coastal storm climatology
and variations in sediment supply (Thom and Hall
1991; Pethick 2001; Kumar et al. 2010).
Besides the reason for coastal erosion, littoral retreat is always reflected by overwash and/or beach and
dune erosion (Bird 1993). When natural processes

J Indian Soc Remote Sens

affect or threaten human activities or infrastructure,


the former becomes a natural hazard. In order to
prevent natural hazard impact and associated economic and human losses, coastal managers need to know
the intrinsic littoral vulnerability. This is determined
using information on the physical and ecological
coastal features, human occupation, population, and
past and present shoreline trends. Satellite imagery
and maps are very useful data sources to reconstruct
coastline change at long (>60 years) and medium
(between 10 and 60 years) (Crowell et al. 1993) temporal and spatial scales. Furthermore, satellite imagery
and maps give pertinent information for environmental mapping and classification of landuse/landcover of
an area. Vulnerability maps have been obtained for
several coastal sectors around the world through the
use of remote sensing and Geographical Information
Systems (GIS) techniques (Srinivasa Kumar et al.
2010), computer-assisted multivariate analysis and numerical models (Cooper and McLaughlin 1998;
Dominguez et al. 2005).
During the last several years there have been significant increases in the number of vulnerability indices for specific coastal areas (Gornitz et al. 1993;
Leggett and Jones 1996; McLaughlin et al. 2002).
Indices have been used in coastal areas to study disturbances related to factors such as sea level rise (Rao
et al. 2008), wave erosion (Gornitz et al. 1997); human
impacts (McLaughlin et al. 2002), and oil-spill
impacts. The objective of the coastal indices is to
classify the coastlines into uniform entities having
similar features. These classifications can then help
in the development of coastal management policies
in sensitive areas.
The Digha coastal area, lying on the eastern coast
of India, is one of the thickly populated zones of India.
The area has gained considerable commercial importance for its rapid growth in tourism and socioeconomic development. The loss of land to sea has
now become a recurrent phenomenon. Identification
of erosion vulnerable areas and effective risk mapping
and assessment is the need of the hour. The present
study is an attempt to develop coastal vulnerability
indices for Digha littoral tract by comparing data on
coastal erosion/accretion, landuse and human activities, and population density along the 65 km long
littoral stretch between the Subarnarekha River
(Balasore) and Rasulpur River (Midnapur). Beach
erosion and accretion rates were derived by comparing

multi-temporal Landsat satellite images. Landuse and


human activity types have been mapped and estimated
from IRS P6 LISS-IV (Linear Imaging Self-scanning
Sensor) and ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal
Emission and Reflection Radiometer) image, and field
observations. Population density map of coastal villages was produced using historical maps and census
data.

Study Area
The study area is a 65 km long coastline on the east
coast of India, covering parts of Midnapur and
Balasore littoral tracts along Kanthi coastal plain and
Subarnarekha delta plain, occurring in West Bengal
and Orissa states respectively, which is potentially
vulnerable to erosion hazard. The study area is
bounded in the NE by Rasulpur River (Midnapur)
and in the SW by Subarnarekha River (Balasore),
and lies between 21 3021 48 N latitudes and
87 2487 54 E longitudes (Fig. 1).
The beach material is generally siliciclastic and
quartzo-feldspathic in composition, with well sorted,
medium to fine sand (Friedman and Sanders 1978;
Bhattacharya et al. 2003). The foreshore beach is
generally flat with low gradient (1:50 to 1:70) and
slightly concave upward to gently undulating and consist of medium to fine grained sand. The bathymetric
chart reveals that the general offshore gradient is 1:003
and at Digha Mohona the gradient is gentler (1:001).
A steeper shore face off Digha, as compared to the
area to its SW up to the mouth of the Subarnarekha
and to its NW, where the bathymetric contours take a
sharp turn towards the sea, and is known as Western
Brace.
Geomorphological map of the area shows that this
coastal region was made up of alternate lines of beach
ridges or chennier plains (Niyogi 1970; Chakrabarty
2005), situated on silty or clayey marine terraces.
Almost shore-parallel formations of six ancient shoreline positions have been found over the 30 km wide
coastal region (Niyogi 1970), which indicates landward
shifting of shoreline positions in the past. The geomorphic divisions like beach, active dunes, mud flats, chenier plains etc. of the study area have been developed
within last 6,000 years (Paul 2002; Dey et al. 2005).
The studied zone experiences strong longshore current from SW to NE direction during the monsoon

J Indian Soc Remote Sens

Rasulpur
River
Petua Ghat
Gopalpur
Junput
MIDNAPUR (WEST BENGAL)

Haripur

COAST
BALASORE (ORISSA)

Dadanpatra
Mandarmani
Tajpur

Shankarpur
Digha
Udaipur
Digha Inlet
Talsari
Talsari Inlet

Pichhabani Inlet

COAST

Jaldah Inlet

Subarnarekha
River
Kirtania
Chandrabali

Fig. 1 Map of the studied zone showing important locations

season and a less powerful longshore current from NE


to SW direction during the winter season, due to
seasonal variation in wind direction. The longshore
current velocity recorded at Subarnarekha mouth and

Digha are 1.2164 and 1.2620 m/s respectively (Paul


2002).
The present coastline is dominated by high energy
macro-tidal environment (tidal range 4.5 m to 5 m)

J Indian Soc Remote Sens

with predominantly southwesterly monsoon derived


wave and bay-head cyclone prone areas (Paul 2002).
The coast experiences semi-diurnal tidal fluctuations
with tidal range of 5 m to 5.8 m in the spring tide and
1.5 m or less in the nip tide (Paul 2006).
In terms of land occupation, the study area has seen
a significant increase in human pressure, mainly due to
increasing tourism, recreational, fishing, agriculture
and other economic activities which provide important
economic resources for the hinterland. The lack of a
management policy and rapid increase of tourism activities and human occupations resulted in urban
sprawl and considerable coastal stress. A management
response is now required to protect this coastal area
upon which the local economy is based.

Methods of Study
The coastal erosion vulnerability map was based on
result interpretation and integration of the mediumterm shoreline changes in conjunction with the distribution of landuse and human activities, and coastal
population density. In this study, landuse and human
activities, and population density were mapped within
the littoral zone, extending 1 km landward from the
shoreline.
Shoreline Change Rate
The shoreline change rate is one of the most common
measurements used by coastal scientists, engineers,
and land planners to indicate the dynamics and the
hazards of the coast (Savage and Foster 1989).
Analysis of the coastal evolution in the study area
has been carried out over the 38 year period (1972 to
2010), which is considered as medium term (Crowell
et al. 1993; Anfuso and Martinez Del Pozo 2009),
using five multi-temporal Landsat satellite data.
Ortho-rectified Landsat MSS, TM and ETM+ images
covering the study area in the years 1972, 1980, 1990,
2000, and 2010 were downloaded from USGS Global
Visualization Viewer (2011). The data have been projected to the Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM)
projection system with WGS-84 datum and zone 45.
Spatial error among the multi-dated satellite images
due to tidal variation, weather conditions and pixel
variations during data acquisition have been generalized in the present study. Allan et al. (2003) suggest

that the total amount of shoreline shift (A) due to


temporal variation in local sea level for each littoral
cell needs to be calculated using the expression A = D
beach slope of littoral cells, to arrive at good grid
resolution, (D denotes the difference in water level at
the time of data acquisition and high tide before the
data acquisition). These data (tidal heights) for the
entire study area have been collected from the nearest
port, Sagar Island in the vicinity of the study area.
Beach slopes at different places (covering entire study
area) have been collected from previous studies (Paul
2002, 2006). The above relationship of shoreline shift
(Allan et al. 2003) in the present study, gives maximum shoreline shift (A) of 111.6 m (Table 1) among
littoral cells. Thus, a maximum width of 111 m of tideinundated area has been considered. Based on this
estimate, the Minimum Legible Delineation (MLD)
(Hengl 2006) of aerial extent 111111 m2 has been
chosen in order to calculate the best grid resolution.
The expressions, (MLD), (MLD/8), and
(MLD/4) (Hengl 2006) have been applied to estimate the coarsest, finest and optimum resolutions of
grid or pixel respectively, for the same MLD area
(MLD). Based on these calculations, an optimum
value of 55.5 m, between the coarsest value of
111 m and the finest value of 39.24 m has been
selected in the present study. Hence, all satellite imageries have been resampled to a constant pixel resolution of 55.5 m by downsampling of Landsat TM
(30 m), and Landsat ETM+ (30 m), and upsampling
of Landsat MSS (79 m) data. The near infrared band
(band 4), which is most suitable for the demarcation of
the landwater boundary, has been used to extract the
shoreline (Lee and Jurkevich 1990; Maiti and
Bhattacharya 2009). Several methods are use for
obtaining shoreline position from remote sensing data,
such as the post-classification approach that involves
the analysis of differences between land and water
(Singh 1989; Lambin and Strahler 1994; Lillesand
and Kiefer 2000). Threshold values (zero for water
and one for land) in band 4 for each image were
attributed to form a binary image and shoreline positions were extracted. As the water appears black in
colour, the sharp edge between water and land is easily
detected. In order to ensure the waterline and mapping
accuracy, 33 edge enhancement filter was used to
sharpen the boundary between water and land classes
(Lee and Jurkevich 1990; Dewidar and Frihy 2008).
Binary images are used as input layers in unsupervised

J Indian Soc Remote Sens


Table 1 List of different satellite data used for shoreline change rate study with acquisition date and time, tidal heights at acquisition
times, sea level (SL) shifts, and location wise variations in shoreline shifts
Satellite/
Sensor

Time

Date of
acquisition

SL a Shift
from HT b

Tide condition

(GMT +5:30)

Tidal
Condition (ft)
height (ft)

(m)

Amount of shoreline shift (m)

Digha
Shankarpur Dadanpatra Junput
(1:47) c (1:55) c
(1:43)c
(1:72)c

Landsat
4:28:29
5, TM
Landsat
4:27:56
7, ETM+
TM
3:38:00

February 13, 2010

12.99

Slack

2.26 0.69 32.43

37.95

29.67

49.68

December 10, 2000

11.89

Slack

5.08 1.55 72.85

85.25

66.65

111.6

November 21, 1990 NA

NA

NA

TM

3:38:00

November 14, 1990 11.71

Slack

3.39 1.03 48.41

MSS

3:52:22

January 17, 1980

15.69

Slack

0.98 0.30 14.1

16.5

12.9

21.6

Landsat
1, MSS

4:08:00

December 12, 1972

11.60

Rising

1.56 0.47 22.09

25.85

20.21

33.84

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

56.65

44.29

74.16

Sea Level from high tide

Tidal height as measured from Sagar Island tidal gauge

Beach slope for different locations (Paul 2002, 2006)

Not Available

classification module to form complete separation between land and water classes, and to remove effect of
suspended materials, if any. Horizontal and vertical
Sobel filters (ERDAS 2005) were used in each unsupervised classified image of each data set to enhance
edge detection. The selected pixels, representing
shoreline have been converted into vector layers using

ERDAS Imagine and ArcMap 9.1. Editing to remove


uncertainties for each filtered image was carried out
manually. Thus, the continuous shoreline positions
during different periods (1972, 1980, 1990, 2000 and
2010) were drawn (Fig. 2).
The digitized shorelines for the years 1972, 1980,
1990, 2000, and 2010 in the vector format were used

Fig. 2 Shoreline positions


(19722010) and transect
lines. Highlighted boxes are
shown for areas Kirtania
(near Subarnarekha River)
and spit near Junput.

Rasulpur
River
Tr. 1

Pichhabani
Inlet
Digha
Inlet
Subarnarekha
River
Tr. 594

Talsari
Inlet

Kirtania

Jaldah
Inlet

Junput

J Indian Soc Remote Sens

in Digital Shoreline Analysis System (DSAS), an


ArcGIS extension for calculating shoreline change rate
following the linear regression (LR) method (Dolan
et al. 1991; Maiti and Bhattacharya 2009). The linear
regression approach is to calculate a best-fit line, using
the method of least square, through the entire sample
of shoreline positions; the slope of the line is an
estimate of the shoreline change rate. Linear regression is found to be suitable as it minimizes potential
random error and short-term variability (cyclical
changes) through the use of a statistical approach
(Douglas and Crowell 2000). In addition, LR uses all
the data to calculate the rates. Differences between the
1972 and 2010 shorelines were established in correspondence with 594 transects (e.g., Tr.1 to Tr. 594)
drawn at uniform interval of 100 m, perpendicular to
the shoreline of 1972 (Fig. 2). The spatial distribution
of shoreline change rate, computed by linear regression method along the 65 km long coastal stretch is
presented in Fig. 3.
The precision with which the rate-of-change values
is calculated depends on the accuracy of the shoreline
measurement, temporal variability of the shoreline,
and number of data points used in calculating the
change rate, among other factors (Dolan et al. 1991).
Since shoreline data has been extracted from satellite
image of uniform grid resolution of 55.5 m, it is
expected that rate of change of shoreline will be
obtained. The coarseness of the image is carried to
the accuracy of the erosion and accretion rate hence
calculated.
The shoreline erosion and accretion rates for the
19722010 period were determined for the entire studFig. 3 Shoreline change
rate (m/y) distribution graph
at each transect along
studied littoral

ied zone, and grouped into four categories: severe


erosion (< 10 m/y), high erosion (between 10
and <0 m/y), accretion (between 0 and 10 m/ y), and
high accretion (> 10 m/y), and risk ratings have
been assigned (Table 2).
Landuse and Human Activities
The protection of an area is deemed vulnerable if the
area is sufficiently important in economic, cultural and
environmental (ecological and biological) aspects.
Therefore landuse type and human activities is of
significance in determining vulnerability. IRS P6
LISS-IV and ASTER data of 2005 have been utilized
in order to assess the landuse and human activities,
which were corroborated by accurate field observations. Landuse and human activities include tourism,
agricultural, fishing, conservation and recreational activities, which have been grouped into four different
categories according to economic values. Tourism activities consist of hotels, holiday home and other recreational structures devoted to tourist demand. Coastal
villages devoted to tourism activities have been
grouped within the very high capital landuse category, because of high urbanization. Harbors, jetties,
fisheries and areas essentially devoted to recreational
sites, have been included within this category. These
activities represent important economic sources to the
coastal inhabitants. Coastal villages characterized by
scatter villages, agriculturally devoted areas and
farms, and saltpan areas have been included within
the high capital landuse category. Mangrove, dune
vegetation and other vegetations have been mapped

J Indian Soc Remote Sens


Table 2 Risk rating assigned for different parameters
Risk Rating
Variable

Low (1)

Moderate (2)

High (3)

Very high (4)

Shoreline change rate (m/y)a

> 10 (high accretion)

010 (accretion)

10 and <0 (erosion)

< 10 (severe
erosion)

Land use and human activities

Wetlands, Salt marshes, Mangroves, Dune


Scattered villages,
Hotels, Jetties,
Open lands, River
vegetations, Vegetations
Agricultural lands,
Fisheries (very
and Inlets mouths
(moderate capital)
Saltpans (high capital)
high capital)
(low capital)
5011,000
1,0011,500
> 1,500
Population density (persons/km2) 0500
a

Negative () and positive (+) values, respectively, indicate erosion and accretion

within the moderate capital landuse category; while


uninhabited and naturally protected areas, viz., wetlands, salt marshes, open lands and river and inlet
mouths are mapped within no capital landuse category (Table 2).

four categories; very high density (>1,500), high


density (1,0011,500), moderate density (501
1,000), and low density (0500), and risk ratings have
been assigned (Table 2).
Calculation of Coastal Vulnerability Index (CVI)

Population
There are many potential indicators of socio-economic
variables. Population can be selected as one of the subindex of socio-economic variables (Hegde and Reju
2007). Coastal population can be considered as an
economic variable (Dilley and Rasid 1990; Devoy
1992; Rivas and Cendrero 1994; Gornitz et al. 1997;
McLaughlin et al. 2002) because people in densely
populated areas act to protect their properties from
erosion. They are reluctant to abandon their properties
and infrastructures that have been built up over many
years. On the other hand, the areas where few people
live may not suffer the same pressure or the same urge
for protection. At the same time, the coastal population can also be interpreted as a direct erosion-inducing variable (McLaughlin et al. 2002; Hegde and
Reju 2007), because the presence of large number of
people near the coast may produce damaging impacts
on the coastal areas. Both views of population in
relation to coastal vulnerability are complementary,
as each magnifies the effect of the other in increasing
or decreasing vulnerability. Population density maps
of the coastal villages were prepared using historical
maps and census data. The coastal areas having
high population density are considered as high
vulnerable and low population density areas are
considered as low vulnerable. The population
density for the entire study area was grouped into

The coastal vulnerability index (CVI) is determined by


combining the relative risk variables to create a single
indicator. In the present study, the entire studied littoral is divided into 3030 m grids. Each of the input
relative risk variables are then assigned appropriate
risk classes 4, 3, 2 and 1 as shown in Table 2, based
on its ability to cause very high, high, moderate and
low damage, respectively, for 1 km distance extending
from the shoreline to landward. Once each grid section
(3030 m) of coastline is assigned a risk value for
each variable, the coastal vulnerability index (CVI)
was then computed as the square root of the product
of all ranked variables divided by the total number of
variables (n) (Pendleton et al. 2005; Boruff et al.
2005). The CVI is represented by the Eq. (1).
CVI

p
a  b  c =n

where, a is risk rating assigned to shoreline-change


rate, b is risk rating assigned to landuse and human
activities, and c is risk rating assigned to population
density.
The CVI is calculated based on the risk values
assigned to input parameters following the simple
vector algebraic technique using ESRI ArcMap software. The CVI values thus generated for the littoral
tract are categorized into four CVI classes, viz., very
high, high, moderate and low vulnerable.

J Indian Soc Remote Sens


Fig. 4 a Beach accretion at
Talsari, b Beach erosion at
Gopalpur, earlier damaged
flood protection embankment; and later artificial
construction (bamboo fencing) to protect beach erosion

Results and Discussion


Shoreline Change Rate
The study revealed that about 3 km (4.62 % of the
total) and 20 km (30.77 % of the total) of coastline
recorded low (high accretion) and moderate
(accretion) risk rating respectively. Accretion has been
observed on a number of beaches, which have not
been affected by man-made structures and human
intervention, such as at Talsari (Fig. 4a), Udaipur,
and Haripur. About 37 km (56.92 % of the total) of
coastline have a high risk rating (high erosion) with
erosion rates between 0 and 10 m/y, viz., at Digha,
Shankarpur, Chandpur, Jaldha, Tajpur, Mandarmani,
Silampur, Dadanpatra, Gopalpur (Fig. 4b), and Junput.
These areas have man-made structures and human
intervention zones. Moreover, these coastal regions

Fig. 5 Risk classes for


shoreline change rate

have been experiencing sustained erosion for the last


four decades. About 5 km (7.69 % of the total) of
coastline has very high risk rating (severe erosion)
recording erosion rates of more than 10 m/y. These
severe erosion zones are found at Chandrabali,
Miatrapur, Dakshin Purushottampur and Pratappur
(Fig. 5).
Landuse and Human Activities
The present study revealed that about 23 km (35.38 %
of the total) of coastline comprising wetlands, salt
marshes, water and open lands has low risk rating.
About 24 km (36.92 % of the total) length of coastline
comprising mangroves, dune vegetations and vegetations has moderate risk rating. About 12 km (18.46 %
of the total) of coastline comprising scattered villages,
agricultural lands and saltpans has high risk rating.

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Fig. 6 Risk classes for landuse and human activities

About 6 km (9.23 % of the total) of coastline which is


covered by hotels, jetties and fisheries activities along
the Talsari, Digha, Shankarpur, Tajpur, Mandarmani,
Dadanpatra, Junput and Pratappur beaches has a very
high risk rating (Fig. 6).
Population Density
The present study revealed that about 35 km (53.85 % of
the total) of coastline has low risk rating, having very
low coastal population density of 0500 persons/km2
Fig. 7 Risk classes for
population

along the coastal stretches of Kirtania, Kharibil,


Krushnanagar, Kiagoria, Tajpur, Silampur, Sonamuhi,
Dadanpatra, Haripur, Purushottampur, Bhogpur and
Kanaichatta. About 22 km (33.85 % of the total) of
coastline has moderate risk rating with coastal population density of 5001,000 persons/km2 along the coastal
stretches of Chandrabali, Udaipur, Gangadharpur,
Chandpur, Jaldha, Mandarmani, Shamraybar, Dakshin
Kadua, Kadua Mukundapur, Gopalpur and Pratappur.
And while, about 1 km (1.54 % of the total) of coastline
has high risk rating along coastal stretch of Digha

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Table 3 Distribution of vulnerability types in the studied littoral
Vulnerability
Low

Moderate

High

Very high

Parameter

(km)

(%)

(km)

(%)

(km)

(%)

(km)

(%)

Shoreline change rate(m/y)

4.62

20

30.77

37

56.92

7.69

Landuse and human activities

23

35.38

24

36.92

12

18.46

9.23

Population density (persons/km2)

35

53.85

22

33.85

1.54

10.77

CVI

23.5

36.15

36

55.38

2.5

3.85

4.62

having coastal population density of 1,0001,500 persons/km2, about 7 km (10.77 % of the total) of coastline
that has recorded coastal population density of more
than 1,500 persons/km2 along the remaining part of
Digha, and the coastal stretch of Gobindabasan and
Biramput has very high risk rating (Fig. 7)
Coastal Vulnerability Index (CVI)
In the present study, the studied littoral, on a vulnerability scale, has been classified as low, moderate, high and
very high based on three variables, namely, shoreline
change rate, landuse and human activities, and coastal
population (Table 3). The resultant CVI has been calculated and the vulnerability zones along the shoreline,
extending from the shoreline to a landward distance of
1 km, are presented on the CVI map (Fig. 8).
Fig. 8 Coastal vulnerability
classes along studied littoral

The CVI value along the studied littoral varies from


0.57 to 4. Those parts of coastline having CVI values
ranging from 0.57 to 1.15 are considered to be low
vulnerable; those ranging from 1.15 to 2 and 2 to 3 are
considered to be moderate vulnerable and high vulnerable respectively. The remaining parts having CVI
values 3 to 4 are considered to be very high vulnerable. The vulnerability classes indicate that 36.15 % of
the studied littoral covering a length of 23.5 km is
under the low vulnerable class located along Kharibil,
Krushnanagar, Dakshin Purushottampur, Sharadhpur,
Mankaraiput, Kanaichatta, which are not affected by
man-made structures and interventions (Fig. 8). About
36 km long coastal stretch which account for 55.38 %
of the total length are under moderate vulnerable class
covered by Kirtania, Sahapur, Udaipur, Tajpur,
Silampur, Sonamuhi, Dadanpatra, Beguran, Dakshin

J Indian Soc Remote Sens

Kadua, Kadua Mukundapur, and Bhogpur, which are


wide-beaches with shore-face dunes. About 2.5 km
(3.85 % of the total) of the coastal stretch is under high
vulnerable class and is recorded at Chandrabali, Barbaria,
New Digha, Kiagoria, Shankarpur, Chandpur, Jaldha,
Mandarmani, Junput, Gopalpur, Bankipur and Pratappur,
which are low-lying and almost flat with mudflats and
mangrove swamps. About 3 km (4.62 % of the total) of
the coastal stretch of the studied littoral, mostly covering Old Digha, come under very high vulnerable
class which is seawall protected region.
Coastal retreat rates were used to calculate Imminent
Collapse Zone (ICZ) (Crowell et al. 1999; Anfuso and
Martinez Del Pozo 2009), i.e., the littoral zone threatened by imminent erosion, extending from shoreline
towards landward with a width equivalent to five times
the site erosion rate plus approximately 3.0 m (10 ft).
Considering the shoreline retreat rates, the ICZ is located 203 m (Tr.556) and 10.6 m (Tr.432 ) landward
respectively at Chandrabali and Digha; 20.1 m (Tr.378
) at Shankarpur and 13.7 m (Tr.321 ) at Chandpur. At
Jadha the ICZ is projected 17.15 m (Tr.310 ) landward,
at Mandarmani it is 24.5 m (Tr.284 ), at Dadanpatra it is
21.5 m (Tr.258 ), at Junput it is 22.3 m (Tr.96 ) landward
and at Gopalpur and Petua Ghat it is 118.5 m (Tr.64 )
and 104.4 m (Tr.6 ) landward respectively.

Conclusions
The result of this study shows that the study area is
highly erosion prone zone. Major portion of this part
of eastern coast of India, bordering Bay of Bengal has
been subjected to considerable erosion, only in small
parts there has been accretion. It is observed that regions
having man-made structures and interventions are the
most erosion affected areas. The coastal vulnerability
map produced using the methodology followed in this
study serve as a broad indicator of threats to people
living in this coastal zone. This is the first such study
undertaken in the current study area, which is lying
along a highly erosion prone and thickly populated
zone on east coast of India. The coastal erosion
vulnerability map prepared from this study can be
used for proper planning and management of this
coastal zone. The study also conclusively proves the
usefulness of remote sensing data, in situ observations, and GIS analysis tools in coastal vulnerability
studies.

Acknowledgments The authors thank USGS Global Visualization Viewer (GLOVIS) for providing free satellite data. The
authors thank Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), India for providing financial assistance during this study under
RESPOND Program. Authors also thank Dr. Sabyasachi Maiti
and Mr. M. Das Adhikari, IIT Kharagpur for their help at
various stages of the research work.

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