US Pacific Islands Oceans – NASA DEVELOP Summer 2017@ NCEI

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[Ocean waves] [music] >> Saraneh: In 2014, unusually high tidesand large swells flooded the Marshallese capital of Majuro, leaving 940 people displaced anddamaging 110 homes.

The Marshall Islands are formed by 29 low-lyingcoral atolls and 5 larger islands, rising just seven feet above the sea.

This Pacific island nation is on the frontlineof sea level rise as ongoing inundation events erode the coastline, infiltrate fresh-watersources, and destroy food crops.

>> Alec: Our team partnered with NOAA'sPacific Regional Services Director and the University of Hawaii Sea Level Center to createan enhanced sea level outlook.

This outlook will help islands prepare forhigh water events.

>> John Marra: What ultimately results inan extreme water level.

At the largest scale it's sea level riseover decades.

So as that increases your extreme increases.

You have, ya know tropical cyclones.

So, it isn't just a tropical cyclone, itcan be a combination of very high tides, sometimes the seasonal tides we call king tides, willcombine with some waves get one or two foot inundation event, and even in some instancesit's just a relatively high tide.

So all of those phenomena can produce impacts.

>> Alec: Currently, tide gauge and buoy dataare used to create weekly sea-level outlooks while tidal and satellite altimetry data areused to produce monthly outlook.

>> India: This animation shows how sea levelshave changed over the last twenty years.

In the western Pacific, sea levels have beenrising very rapidly.

This increase is because of heat being pushedfrom east to west across the Pacific.

>> Katie: To analyze water level variabilityacross the region, we averaged the daily wave behavior over the last 30-years.

Wave height and direction data were addedto a tidal calendar and sea level data to produce a flood-risk tool.

NOAA data from two wave projectionmodels were compared.

These combined indicators cover a longer timeperiod at a larger scale.

>> John Marra: So this shallow flooding doesn'tseem like that big of a deal but if you have a 1 foot flooding on an island that only theheight of 4 feet, there aren't necessarily a lot of places to go.

>> India: The University of Hawaii will integratethis risk metric tool to enhance their current forecast and to prepare island residentsfor future high-water events.

[sound of ocean waves].