• Lush vegetation on the top of Spectacle Island's North drumlin dominates the foreground. Boston's skyline can be seen in the distance.  The park's logo with tag line minutes away, worlds apart empashises the stark contrast between the city and islands.

    Boston Harbor Islands

    National Recreation Area Massachusetts

Mapping and Modeling Sea Level Rise

Ellen Douglas
(617) 287-7437
University of Massachusetts, Boston
Environmental, Earth, and Ocean Sciences
100 Morrisey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125
e-mail author

Angelica Murdukhayeva
e-mail author

 

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.

Did You Know?

Vintage Aerial View of Boston Light

Boston Light Station, part of Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, is visited every year by the Flying Santa, a long-time New England tradition started by William Wincapaw in 1929. The Flying Santa delivers food, toys, and other necessities to lighthouses across New England. More...