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Matthew Barbee

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Located in the northern tropical Pacific Ocean, Majuro is the capital of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Majuro Atoll consists of a large, narrow landmass and a set of smaller perimeter islands surrounding a lagoon that is over 100 square miles in size. The waters surrounding the Majuro Atoll land areas are relatively shallow with poorly mapped bathymetry. However, the Pacific Ocean on the exterior of the coral atoll and the lagoon within its interior consist of deep bathymetry with steep slopes. The highest elevation of the Majuro Atoll is estimated at only 3-meters above sea level, which is the island community of Laura located on the western part of the atoll. At the eastern edge of the atoll lies the capital...
Categories: Data; Tags: 3D Elevation Program, 3DEP, American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Base Maps, Bathymetric, All tags...
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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that low-lying atolls (ring-shaped islands or island chains made of coral) in the Pacific Ocean are extremely vulnerable to high tide events (“king tides”), storm surge, tsunamis, and sea-level rise. The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) spreads over 29 atolls and has a population of over 50,000 people with homes and communities that may be threatened by these climate change-related events. Policy makers, planners, and others within RMI are faced with decisions about how to prepare for the future and need scientific data and information about the vulnerability of Pacific Islands to potential climate change impacts like sea-level rise. Topographic and bathymetric...
Sea-level rise (SLR) threatens islands and coastal communities due to vulnerable infrastructure and populations concentrated in low-lying areas. LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data were used to produce high-resolution DEMs (Digital Elevation Model) for Kahului and Lahaina, Maui, to assess the potential impacts of future SLR. Two existing LiDAR datasets from USACE (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) were compared and calibrated using the Kahului Harbor tide station. Using tidal benchmarks is a valuable approach for referencing LiDAR in areas lacking an established vertical datum, such as in Hawai‘i and other Pacific Islands. Exploratory analysis of the USACE...
Global sea-level rise (SLR) is projected to accelerate over the next century, with research indicating that global mean sea level may rise 18–48 cm by 2050, and 50–140 cm by 2100. Decision-makers, faced with the problem of adapting to SLR, utilize elevation data to identify assets that are vulnerable to inundation. This paper reviews techniques and challenges stemming from the use of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) digital elevation models (DEMs) in support of SLR decision-making. A significant shortcoming in the methodology is the lack of comprehensive standards for estimating LiDAR error, which causes inconsistent and sometimes misleading calculations of uncertainty. Workers typically aim to reduce uncertainty...
Majuro Atoll in the central Pacific has high coastal vulnerability due to low-lying islands, rising sea level, high wave events, eroding shorelines, a dense population center, and limited freshwater resources. Land elevation is the primary geophysical variable that determines exposure to inundation in coastal settings. Accordingly, coastal elevation data (with accuracy information) are critical for assessments of inundation exposure. Previous research has demonstrated the importance of using high-accuracy elevation data and rigorously accounting for uncertainty in inundation assessments. A quantitative analysis of inundation exposure was conducted for Majuro Atoll, including accounting for the cumulative vertical...
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