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Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

The Impact of Sea-Level Rise and Climate Change on Pacific Ocean Atolls that House Department of Defense Installations

Project Overview

The Problem





Project Overview: Approach

This investigation is focused on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Kwajalein is a large (maximum width approximately 100 kilometers) atoll system with a large, deep lagoon and large islets that support freshwater lenses. The investigation focuses on the interaction between sea level, wave-driven inundation, and the atoll islets’ freshwater lenses; the study includes field data collection for validation and calibration of numerical oceanographic and hydrogeologic models of wave-driven inundation and groundwater dynamics, respectively. Once the models are shown to accurately portray past and present conditions at Kwajalein Atoll, we will conduct predictive modeling of sea-level rise and climatic impacts to infrastructure and freshwater availability based on sea-level rise projections and global climate model (GCM) wind, wave, and precipitation output.

In Year 1, we have successfully initiated Tasks 1-3 as planned, displayed below. Click a Task bubble below, to see examples of methods, instrumentation, and progress.

Flow chart of tasks for the project. Task 1.1 Task 1.2 Task 2.1 Task 3.1 Task 3.2 Task 3.3 Task 4.1

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U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Contact: Curt Storlazzi
Last modified 2018