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The Impact of Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise on Future Flooding of Coastal Parks and Refuges in Hawaiʻi and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands

The Impact of Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise on Future Flooding of Coastal NPS Parks and FWS Refuges in Hawaiʻi, Guam, CNMI, and American Samoa
Principal Investigator
Curt Storlazzi

Dates

Start Date
2019-06-05
End Date
2021-06-04
Release Date
2019

Summary

The Pacific Ocean is home to a number of low-lying, coastal national parks and wildlife refuges. These public lands are situated on coral reef-lined islands that are susceptible to inundation from sea-level rise and flooding during storms. Because of their low-lying nature and limited availability of space, ecosystems, cultural resources, and infrastructure on these islands are particularly vulnerable to flooding. Sea-level rise will further exacerbate the impact of storms on island parks and refuges by increasing wave-driven coastal flooding, with consequences for ecological and human communities alike. However, most assessments of future conditions at coastal national parks and refuges consider only permanent inundation from sea-level [...]

Child Items (3)

Contacts

Principal Investigator :
Curt Storlazzi
Cooperator/Partner :
Michael Beck, Borja Reguero
Funding Agency :
Pacific Islands CASC
CMS Group :
Climate Adaptation Science Centers (CASC) Program

Attached Files

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Guam_Coast_KoichiIijima_MPD.jpg
“Guam Coast. Credit: Koichilijima, MPD”
thumbnail 382.95 KB image/jpeg

Purpose

Most assessments of future conditions at coastal National Parks and Wildlife Refuges only consider permanent inundation from sea-level rise (SLR) and do not account for the combined effect of storm driven flooding and SLR in management decisions and planning. The proposed project will address this critical gap. The tropics house many low-lying, coastal National Parks and Wildlife Refuges on coral reef-lined islands that are susceptible to inundation from sea-level rise (SLR) and flooding during storms projected for later this century. Most of these islands have limited adaptation space for ecosystems, cultural resources, and infrastructure that are particularly vulnerable to coastal flooding. SLR will exacerbate the impact of storms by reducing wave breaking on the reefs and thus increase wave-driven coastal flooding and resulting impacts to the critical ecosystems, cultural resources, and infrastructure on National Parks and Wildlife Refuges. To date, most studies that describe future SLR threats have used passive models to simulate SLR inundation of coastal areas that underestimate the timing and magnitude of future flooding by not accounting for storms. NPS and FWS need accurate projections of inundation and flooding to develop adaptation plans now to avoid and/or reduce the loss of invaluable natural and cultural resources and costly infrastructure to storm-driven coastal flooding. We will model coastal flooding for a number of future storm and SLR scenarios to co-produce high-resolution (~10 m2) maps and quantify the impact on natural and biological resources and infrastructure at coastal National Parks on Hawai’i, Guam, Saipan, and American Samoa and Wildlife Refuges on Maui, O’ahu, Kaua’i, Moloka’i, and Guam. Maps and charts visualizing these projections of how flooding will increase spatially through time will provide sound scientific guidance for current and future NPS and FWS management decisions and support the communication of those impacts and necessary management actions to the public.

Project Extension

parts
typeTechnical Summary
valueRecent observations and projections of sea level show that global sea-level rise (SLR) by the end of the 21st century could be meters above 2000 levels. The tropics house many low-lying, coastal National Parks and Wildlife Refuges on coral reef-lined islands. Most of these islands have limited adaptation space for ecosystems, cultural resources, and infrastructure that are vulnerable to coastal flooding. SLR will exacerbate the impact of storm waves by reducing wave breaking on the reefs and thus increase wave-driven coastal flooding and resulting impacts to US government-managed ecosystems, cultural resources, and infrastructure on National Parks and Wildlife Refuges. NPS and FWS need accurate projections of these impacts to develop adaptation plans now to avoid and/or reduce the loss of invaluable natural and cultural resources and costly infrastructure to storm-driven coastal flooding. We will model coastal flooding for a number of future storm and SLR scenarios at management-scale resolution (~10 m2) and co-produce maps and quantify the impact on natural and biological resources and infrastructure at coastal National Parks on Hawai’i, Guam, Saipan, and American Samoa and Wildlife Refuges on Maui, O’ahu, Kaua’i, Moloka’i, and Guam. The numerical coastal engineering and geospatial modeling will be performed by the USGS and University of California team that conducted the high-resolution, cutting-edge wave-driven flood modeling for all 3100+ kilometers of US coral reef-lined coast for the US Office of Insular Affairs. Based on that and previous efforts, our preliminary analyses suggest that storm flooding with 1 m of SLR could result in doubling of the coastal area impacted than projected due to SLR inundation alone. Maps and charts visualizing these projections of how flooding will increase spatially through time due to SLR will provide sound scientific guidance for current and future NPS and FWS management decisions and provide outreach to them to communicate those findings to the public. The proposed products would directly address not only PICASC research priorities 2 and 4, but NPS’s (2010) climate change response strategy and FWS’s (2010) strategic plan for responding to climate change by delivering data and co-producing science and interpretive information to improve actions that facilitate adaptation to climate change, and communicate its impacts to managers and the public. This effort would fund the training one MSc and two BSc researchers in methods to assess climate change impacts on islands’ coastal resources.
projectStatusIn Progress

Guam Coast. Credit: Koichilijima, MPD
Guam Coast. Credit: Koichilijima, MPD

Map

Spatial Services

ScienceBase WMS

Communities

  • National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers
  • Pacific Islands CASC

Tags

Provenance

Additional Information

Identifiers

Type Scheme Key
RegistrationUUID NCCWSC 5fee45ba-7644-409b-badd-c9a9f8c9b3a8
StampID NCCWSC PI19-SC1836

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