mapping sea level rise on Kauai: try this where you are

kapaa at 7m sea level rise

Brit mapper Alex Tingle wants you to consider the consequences of global warming...by exploring different scenarios for sea level rise on your own.For this purpose, Tingle has created an online tool that lets you map a rising sea onto Google's mapping website using 15 different flood levels.

For example, here's my hometown of Kapa`a at 7 meters...about where James Hansen worries we might be at century's end (if we're past the tipping point for ice melt)...with flooded areas colored blue.

Bravo to Tingle, who is one of many 'websters' participating in an 'open source' surge of global warming-related online learning applications.

Tingle does it because it needs to be done (and it's related to his day job).

'Tweren't easy, says Tingle, not least because it takes over 340B files derived from NASA data to show these alternative elevations in total earth coverage.

Tingle claims that he erred on the optimistic side wherever he found possible sources of innacuracy...to avoid the risk of having these maps discredited as alarmist.

Still, Tingle acknowledges there are many key variables-- tide, erosion, and coastal defenses, for example-- that are not accounted for by the NASA satellite image data.

As Hawaii's Chip Fletcher has shown, another key variable is the interaction between sea level and the groundwater 'lense' in these islands. According to Flectcher, many shoreline areas will experience worse flooding as groundwater is forced upward. Plus, we should see more springs in areas where they never existed before.

So, Tingle's mapping tool provides only a conservative estimate of likely consequences.

Surely it's enough to make our communities sit up and pay attention to this emerging adaptation challenge...

Published by Ken on January 14th, 2008 tagged Climate Change, HI-specific, Island Vulnerabilities

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