Mapping and Modeling Sea Level Rise
Delivered at the 2011 Boston Harbor Islands Science Symposium
Sea level rise and an increase in storm frequency and intensity are two major impacts to coastal ecosystems expected from climate change. In the Northeast US, projections range from 80 to 190 centimeters of sea level rise by 2100. In order to model and map inundation risk from sea level rise and storm surge, vertically accurate elevation data are required. LiDAR (light detection and ranging) has become a widely established method of obtaining very dense and accurate elevation datasets. LiDAR exists for many communities surrounding Boston Harbor, but unfortunately, the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area lacks sufficient LiDAR elevation coverage; 22 of the 34 islands are not covered. The URI-NPS Monumentation project will use existing geodetic control in the parks to develop a backbone network of monuments. The backbone network will support elevation data collection using survey grade GPS technology at sentinel sites, areas of important cultural, natural and infrastructural resources throughout the park. Using existing LiDAR data and newly collected GPS data, inundation risk from sea level rise and storm surge will be presented for Boston Harbor communities and at the NPS sentinel sites.