Storm Surge and Sea Level Change Data Support Planning, NPS Geologic Resources Division, ColoradoBy:
Dr. Maria Caffrey
The National Park Service Geologic Resources Division (NPS GRD) is working with the University of Colorado Boulder to develop sea level change and storm surge data that parks can use for planning purposes over multiple time horizons.
Coastal parks frequently ask the division how individual parks will be impacted by sea level change. Parks need this information to prepare foundation documents and to calculate storm surge projections. Many park managers would prefer data for shorter time horizons (e.g., 2030, 2050) than is widely available in the academic literature. Although several National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) models can simulate storm surge, most parks do not have tide gauges or other historical records of sea level to input into the models. The NPS GRD is using the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) data to “fill in the gaps” between tide gauges to give parks the latest sea level change data tailored specifically for their park.
The NPS GRD is collecting the most recent data on sea level change and storms, primarily from the academic literature, in addition to projection data generated in-house and provided by other researchers. These data are used to assist with state of the parks reports, general management plans, and foundation documents at parks including, most recently, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Cumberland Island National Seashore, Cape Lookout National Seashore, Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, and San Juan National Historic Site.
Project Outcomes and Conclusions
This project is ongoing and will take three years to complete.
This case study is part of the 2015 National Park Service report, Coastal Adaptation Strategies: Case Studies. These case studies initially were developed by park managers as part of a NPS-led coastal adaptation training in May 2012. The case studies follow the format created for EcoAdapt’s Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE) database, including a list of adaptation strategies. All case studies were updated and modified in September 2013 and March 2015 in response to a growing number of requests from coastal parks and other coastal management agencies looking for examples of climate change adaptation strategies for natural and cultural resources and assets along their ocean, lacustrine, and riverine coasts.
Beavers, R., & M. Caffrey. (2015). Storm Surge and Sea Level Change Data Support Planning, NPS Geologic Resources Division, Colorado [Case study on a project of the NPS Geologic Resources Division]. Excerpted from Schupp, C.A., R.L. Beavers, and M.A. Caffrey [eds.]. 2015. Coastal Adaptation Strategies: Case Studies. NPS 999/129700. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado. Retrieved from CAKE: www.cakex.org/case-studies/storm-surge-and-sea-level-change-data-support...(Last updated November 2015)