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In a major step in developing tools for inundation risk assessment in the Pacific, the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) funded a multistate project to produce digital terrain models and wave models. The project partners included Palau (David Idip), Marshall Islands (Ben Yamamura), Kiribati (Kabure Yeeting) and Solomon Islands (David Natogga) as well as SPC (Herve Damlamian) and a small team from GRID-Arendal. The results of the project were presented at a Webinar on April 28th 2022 (see presentations below).

The impacts of natural hazards on coastal communities are significant and becoming increasing frequent with climate change. Along with short-term events such as storms, the longer-term rise in sea-level and increasing storm intensity are affecting coastal ecosystems and infrastructure. Pacific Island communities require data products such as improved bathymetric and wave models to predict impacts in order to anticipate, prepare and recover from damaging events.

Many bathymetric and coastal surveys have been conducted in the waters surround Palau, the Solomon Islands, the Republic of Marshall Islands and Kiribati over many years, using single beam, multibeam and LIDAR survey techniques. This has created an extensive archive of data that is useful for coastal zone management and risk assessment. The available data has been compiled, processed, and integrated into a standardized bathymetric product for use in climate risk management and maritime planning. Additional information on the project can be found at the CTCN project page.

Next Steps

The partners are now looking to hold a 1-week training session on inundation modelling (a component of the original project which was unfortunately cancelled due to co-vid restrictions). If funding allows, the training will be open to technical personnel from members of the SPC led Pacific Maritime Boundaries Consortium.

The low-lying areas of Pacific Islands are already facing climate change related impacts and future climate scenarios predict these will increase. The Pacific states are investing significant financial and institutional resources into projects and initiatives to address these challenges. However, the existing activities require additional support to adequately deal with these risks, especially in the most vulnerable coastal communities. The project partners plan to work together to develop a programme of action that could help deliver a climate safe future to the region. The results of this CTCN funded project are a starting point for the development of a multistate Green Climate Fund concept note.

Webinar presentations and discussion

Introduction to the project - Elaine Baker GRID-Arendal at the University of Sydney

Overview of digital elevation models produced - Miles Macmillan Lawler GRID-Arendal

Understanding satellite derived bathymetry - Magnus Wettle EOMAP

Uses of satellite derived bathymetry in the Pacific - Mark Alcock Geoscience Australia

Overview of the wave model case studies - Herve Damlamian SPC

Discussion and next steps - facilitated by Mark Alcock Geoscience Australia

Release date: 04 May 2022


GRID-Arendal's activities are nearly always a cooperative undertaking made possible through collaboration with partners and donors.

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