Sea-level rise viewer for American Samoa: A co-developed visualization and planning tool
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 the necessary projections and tools to plan for rising sea levels in American Samoa.
Project researchers will work with the Department of the Interior and community stakeholders in American Samoa on a series of workshops to co-develop information and tools that will empower decision-makers to formulate optimal coastal management plans. Specifically, the research team will produce sea-level rise projections for American Samoa that combine the effects of subsidence and climate change. The team will also map the spatial extent and frequency of high-tide and wave-driven coastal flooding anticipated in coming decades. Finally, project outcomes will be provided to stakeholders via a co-produced web application: the American Samoa Sea-Level Rise Viewer. This tool will provide access to sea-level rise information in formats and resolutions that directly address stakeholder needs.
Associate Director of UH Sea Level center, UH Mānoa
Department of Oceanography, UH Mānoa
Kelley Anderson Tagarino
Extension Specialist, American Samoa Community College
Justin E. Stopa
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Research Geologist, USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
National Park of American Samoa
Office of Insular Affairs
American Samoa Community College Land Grant Program
Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System
Richard Ray NASA Goddard
Jeffrey Danielson Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center