Program and Agenda

Abstract

THE EFFECTS OF SEA-LEVEL RISE ON WAVES, RUN-UP, AND INUNDATION OF ATOLLS

Observations show global sea level is rising, with the highest rates of in the western tropical Pacific Ocean where many of the world’s low-lying carbonate atoll islands are located. Most investigations on sea-level rise impacts use geographic-based “bathtub” models; these do not take wave-driven water levels into account even though most of islands in the Pacific Ocean are subjected to waves larger than 6 m annually. Passive sea-level rise inundation models of Laysan Island and Midway Atoll were compared to dynamic models that include wave-driven water levels to assess the role of waves in forecasting island impacts. We show that sea-level rise will result in larger waves and higher wave-driven water levels along atoll islands’ shorelines. Waves will interact synergistically with sea-level rise, causing twice as forecasted inundation for a given value of sea-level rise as what is predicted by passive sea-level rise inundation models. Furthermore, the more common low-lying atoll configuration with islands close to the shallow carbonate rim is more likely to be subjected to larger and longer waves, resulting in greater wave-induced run-up and flooding than what is forecasted for less-common islands with deeper atoll rims farther from the islands’ shorelines. We predict that many of atoll islands will be flooded annually, salinizing the limited freshwater resources and thus forcing inhabitants to abandon their island-nations in decades, not centuries, as previously thought.

ePoster:

Authors

Storlazzi, C. D., US Geological Survey, USA, cstorlazzi@usgs.gov

Berkowitz, P., University of Hawaii at Hilo, USA, pberkowitz@usgs.gov

Elias, E. P., Deltares, Netherlands, Edwin.Elias@deltares.nl

Details

Poster presentation

Session #:014
Date: 2/27/2014
Time: 16:00 - 18:00
Location: Poster/Exhibit Hall

Presentation is given by student: No

PosterID: 2520