Climate-related vulnerability and risk assessment of main ocean uses: An overview

Miguel Fernandes, Carina Vieira Da Silva, Catarina Frazão Santos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


Vulnerability and risk analyses have been increasingly used in a wide variety of contexts
to support ocean management and planning processes. Depending on the context,
such analyses may focus on different dimensions, spatial scales, and hazards. In
the particular context of climate change, the variability inherent to the developed
assessments has led to the emergence of numerous methodological frameworks,
allowing for advances in the field while raising uncertainties on applied concepts,
definitions, and approaches. In the present study, we developed a systematic literature
review to analyze and discuss the key concepts, methodologies, and limitations of
existing vulnerability and risk assessments of main ocean uses to global climate
change. We analyzed over 314 scientific references regarding the elements considered
in the analysis (e.g., exposure, sensitivity, adaptive capacity), dimensions (e.g.,
ecological, economic, social), type of indicators (e.g., quantitative, qualitative), maritime
activities, climate-related drivers of change, and spatial scales. Results show that most
vulnerability and risk assessments address fisheries and marine conservation, and that
sea-level rise and extreme events are the most frequently considered climate-related
drivers of change. The main identified limitations pertain to the level of subjectivity and
the tremendous variety of concepts, areas of expertise, and systems addressed in such
studies. We highlight that further research is needed particularly on the development
of cross-sectoral studies and integrative approaches, using multiple indicators and
frameworks. There is also a need for assessments explicitly designed to support ocean
planning and integrated marine management processes. Review processes such as the
present one provide a “big picture,” allowing for a global view on complex topics, and
contributing to advances in the field.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7878823
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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