Projecting the Frequency and Impact of Future Coastal Flooding and Inundation Events in the Pacific Islands

Project Summary

Affiliation(s): Pacific Islands CSC

Principal Investigator(s):
  • Philip Thompson (University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa)

Increasing numbers of hazardous inundation events due to climate change is a serious threat to the culture, habitat, and infrastructure of the Hawaiian and U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands. The information currently available to stakeholders, however, is primarily confined to maximum or mean water level and does not include how often incursions are likely to occur. We propose to quantify the effect of local factors and Pacific climate variability on the frequency of inundation events in centers of population and infrastructure in Pacific island communities. We will produce seasonal outlooks that project the number of incursions above a given level at a particular site in 3-6 month windows. We choose seasonal outlooks, because inundation events tend to cluster seasonally based on coastline orientation, storm tracks, dominant swell direction, and tidal amplitude. These same principles will then be applied to quantify how often severe inundation seasons are likely to occur given longer term changes related to natural and anthropogenic climate change.

American Samoa Landscape and Forest - Public Domain (CC0)

Affiliation(s): Pacific Islands CSC

Principal Investigator(s):
  • Philip Thompson (University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa)
  • Matthew J. Widlansky (University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa)
  • Janet M. Becker (University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa)
  • Mark A. Merrifield (University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa)
  • John J. Marra (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Start Date: August 2015

End Date: July 2017

Project Status: In Progress

Tags: CSC, Pacific Islands CSC, 2015, Inundation, Sea level rise, Pacific islands, Water and Ice, Sea-Level Rise and Coasts

Fiscal Year: FY 2015 Projects

Publications & Other

  • Multimodel Ensemble Sea Level Forecasts for Tropical Pacific Islands

      • Project Snapshot: "Diagnosing and Communicating the Effect of Climate Variability on Frequency of Coastal Inundation"

        • PICSC_ResearchFeature_Thompson_CoastalInundation.pdf (Download)