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Pacific Islands Climate Science Center

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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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Hawaiʻi is considered a worldwide biodiversity hotspot, with nearly 90 percent of its native plants found nowhere else in the world. However, about half of these native plants are imperiled by threats including human development, non-native species, and climate change. Through this project, scientists modeled the relative vulnerability of over 1,000 native plant species to the effects of climate change. A panel of experts in Hawaiian plant species assisted with the development of the model and verified its results. From the model, researchers were able to develop a vulnerability score for each plant species and identify categories of species with high, medium, and low vulnerability to climate change. This information...
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As a low-lying coastal nation, the Republic of the Marshall Islands is at the forefront of exposure to climate change impacts. The Republic of the Marshall Islands has a strong dependence on natural resources and biodiversity not only for food and income but also for culture and livelihood. However, these resources are threatened by rising sea levels and associated coastal hazards (storm surges, saltwater intrusion, erosion, etc.). High-quality data for atoll ‘ridge to reef’ (land and ocean) areas are needed to provide remote communities with the tools and strategies to make adaptation efforts before disasters occur. Although the Republic of the Marshall Islands’ National Strategic Plans recognize the need to...
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American Samoa is vulnerable to sea-level rise in part due to the steep terrain of its islands. This terrain requires the majority of the islands’ villages and infrastructure to be located along thin strips of coastal land. The situation is worsened by the recently recognized rapid sinking of the islands, which was triggered by the 2009 Samoa earthquake and is predicted to last for decades. This subsidence is estimated to lead to roughly twice as much sea-level rise by 2060 as what is already predicted from climate change alone. As a result, the timeline of coastal impacts in American Samoa will be decades ahead of similar island communities in the Pacific. Despite this urgency, decision-makers in the region lack...
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The conditions of coral reefs in the Hawaiian Islands are predicted to decline significantly from climate change over the next 100 years. To better prepare for the impacts of climate change on Hawaiian reefs, the research team uses a system of models to simulate ocean waves and circulation, rainfall and storm run-off, and coral reef community dynamics through the year 2100. These models will identify reef areas that are either vulnerable or resilient to the many stressors that the future may hold for reefs. The team’s hope is that this work can identify areas that might benefit from management actions to minimize local stressors such as land-based pollution. Through a collaborative partnership with state and federal...
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