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Hawai‘i and Pacific Islands King Tides Project


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Question? kingtide@hawaii.edu

 

Citizen Science Documenting High Water Levels

Thank you to the nearly 180 citizen scientists who helped
document King Tides in May, June, and July!

You contributed nearly 1800 photo records
Those and the remainder of the 2400 photo records
can be on the web map viewer, here.
See how the work progressed this season and how the contributions support research and planning in these two episodes of Voice of the Sea.

"King Tides"

"In this episode, we’re talking about the exceptionally high king tides and citizen science with Senator Brian Schatz. King Tides were widely reported across the state [in 2017], and UH’s Dr. Mark Merrifield explains how sea level rise is increasing the amount of flooding associated with these high tides. We talk story with Matt Gonser and Maya Walton, to learn more about the Pacific Islands King Tides Project and how you can get involved."

"Sea Level Rise and the Ala Wai Canal"

"In this episode, we head inland to take a look at how rising sea level will affect our infrastructure, aquifers, and fresh water supplies. Researchers from the Univerity of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program and the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology are using King Tides as a window into future ocean conditions, which will have dramatic effects on our island life."

Your records help support our collective
place-based comprehension of coastal hazards and
recurring, and more severe, impacts with sea-level rise.

Collage of June 2017 King Tide photo records. Top row (L-R): Mapunapuna, O'ahu; Kenolio Beach Park, Kihei, Maui; Pago Plaza, American Samoa. Bottom row (L-R): Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor, Kaua'i; Liliuokalani Gardens, Hilo, Hawai'i; Mapunapuna, O'ahu; Waikiki, O'ahu.
Collage of June 2017 King Tides photo records. Top row (L-R): Mapunapuna, O'ahu; Kenolio Beach Park, Kihei, Maui; Pago Plaza, Pago Pago, American Samoa. Bottom row (L-R): Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor, Kaua'i; Liliuokalani Gardens, Hilo, Hawai'i; Mapunapuna, O'ahu; Waikiki, O'ahu.
 

First-person experiences that are place-based and familiar reinforce that climate changes impacts are local in nature and not a distant phenomenon. Hawai'i Sea Grant recruits and trains Citizen Scientists across the Pacific region to document high tide and sea level events and enhance community capacity to prevent, withstand, adapt to, and recover from coastal hazards.

Projections provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and key messages for Hawai‘i and Pacific islands from the National Climate Assessment indicate sea-level rise will bring about more frequent and extreme tidal flooding and inundation by tidally influenced coastal groundwater. Hawai'i Sea Grant is engaging citizen scientists to document today's high water level events, i.e., King Tides, to better understand tomorrow's impacts from sea-level rise and other coastal high water events. These photographic data are entered into a free and publically available data set and are informing research, policy, and decision making across the state and Pacific region.

Almost 200 Citizen Scientists have contributed 2,400 photo records to a publically accessible online database. These data serve as a critical resource for researchers, policy makers, and community members to better understand the potential impacts of sea-level rise and other coastal hazards. These can be viewed at the public dataset and on the web map below!


 

How To Participate

Your images and data are significant contributions to the community efforts to understand and adapt to rising seas.

We are currently using the free Liquid Mobile Data Collection smartphone application: Apple and Android.  

STEP 1: JOIN THE HAWAII AND PACIFIC ISLANDS KING TIDES DATA SET

  • Go to: https://getliquid.io/home
  • Go to search bar, type in “King Tide”:
  • Click on the box you see that says “Hawaii and Pacific Islands King Tides Project”:
  • Click “Join this Dataset” (upper right hand blue box)

STEP 2: DOWNLOAD THE APP

  • Go to App Store (iPhone) or Google Play (Android)
  • The name of the app for iPhone is “liquid mobile data collection” for Android “Liquid Field Notes”. Both versions are free
  • Once you download and open the app, it will take you to a login page
  • Use the login you just created for the Liquid website

STEP 3: ENTER DATA

  • Select “new record”
  • Press the arrow icon to access latitude and longitude from your smartphone’s GPS
  • Take a photo using the camera icon on the data entry form
  • Fill in all required data
  • Press “Submit”
  • No smartphone? No problem! You can easily take photos using a digital camera and upload them to the dataset from your computer. After you set up your Liquid account and join the “Hawaii and Pacific Islands King Tides Project” dataset (see Step 1), select the option “add record.” You can then use the camera icon to upload each photo from your computer, fill in all required data, and press “submit”

Please follow the instructions in the linked PDF here and view this video tutorial to learn how to register for the data set and submit records.

UPDATE: Elevated water levels and potential flooding
expected through the July King Tides period

Documenting 2017 King Tides will be especially important as the Hawaiian Islands continue to experience sea levels that are averaging six inches on top of predicted tides.

The figure above shows snap shots of sea level height from April 2017 through June 2017 measured through satellite altimetry. Warmer colors or the color red indicates above average sea levels, green indicates average sea levels, and cooler colors or the color blue indicates below average sea levels. (Source: University of Hawai'i Sea Level Center)

Four Aims of the Hawai‘i and Pacific Islands King Tides Project

1. Educate and train citizen scientists on coastal processes and coastal hazards
2. Observe and document water levels during King Tides
3. Discuss how to prevent, withstand, adapt to, and recover from coastal hazards
4. Apply citizen scientist-generated data towards research, policy, and climate change adaptation

We know that sea level is rising in Hawai'i. We are particularly interested in documenting those higher tidal and sea level events as representation of what our shores may look like on a more regular basis.

To learn more about research and initiatives to address coastal hazards, please review the other Center for Coastal & Climate Science & Resilience project pages.

To learn more about the Hawai'i's climate adaptation efforts, visit the Hawai'i Climate Adaptation Portal.

What and Why

Hawaiʻi-specific projections are in line with global projections of sea level rise (SLR) with a mean height of 3 feet by 2100 (1).  In addition, the existing problems of chronic erosion in Hawaiʻi, which causes beach loss, damages homes and infrastructure, and endangers critical habitat, will likely worsen with SLR.

A key message for Hawai‘i and Pacific islands from the National Climate Assessment, with respect to SLR is, “Rising sea levels, coupled with high water levels caused by tropical and extra-tropical storms, will incrementally increase coastal flooding and erosion, damaging coastal ecosystems, infrastructure, and agriculture, and negatively affecting tourism.”  Additionally, low-lying islands and atolls will be particularly vulnerable due to their “small land mass, geographic isolation, limited potable water sources, and limited agricultural resources. [SLR] will increase saltwater intrusion from the ocean during storms.”  

Hawai‘i Sea Grant is the Hawai‘i and U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands project lead as part of the International King Tides Project - Snap the Shore, See the Future.  Explore this interactive StoryMap featuring King Tides projects from around the world. 
Click here to check it out!

Photo Observations Can Validate Scientific Models and Forecasts

NOAA Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts Viewer
Example - Hawai'i Kai Boat Ramp: modeled +3 feet of sea level and photographs from June 5, 2016.*

    

PacIOOS Wave Run-Up Forecasts
Example - Waikiki, O'ahu, Wave Run-Up Forecast and photographs of Ala Moana Beach Park and Kuhio Beach from June 4 and 5, 2016, respectively.*

      
For an explanation of the graph, visit the PacIOOS website.

Earth’s Tides and Factors That Contribute to Water Levels

“Tides are the predictable rise and fall of the ocean’s waters, mostly caused by the moon’s gravitational pull.
When the sun and moon align, their combined gravitational forces create [King Tides].”


NOAA Ocean Service Education

There are several factors that contribute to water levels, which can be astronomical, climatic, and meteorological, e.g., Daily TidesKing TidesEl NinoStorm Surge.

Other sea surface anomolies or bulges can track across the ocean affecting water levels.  These ranges in sea surface can translate into water lapping at your feet at the beach; nuisance flooding affecting businesses, homes, and coastal infrastructure such as roads or storm drains; large erosion events and loss of property; and ultimately, due to SLR and groundwater penetration, permanent inundation.

 

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(1) Kopp, R.E., et al., "Probabilistic 21st and 22nd century sea‐level projections at a global network of tide‐gauge sites." Earth’s Future, 2014. 2(8): p. 383-406.

*Image credits as “HI Sea Grant King Tides Project”