Utilizing Earth Observations to Delineate Wetland Extent, Model Sea-Level Rise Inundation Risk, and Assess Impacts on Historic Hawaiian Lands
Climate induced sea-level rise poses a risk to coastal areas on the Island of Hawai’i, and many of the island’s historic cultural lands are in danger of becoming overtaken by wetlands or inundation. In partnership with the County of Hawai’i, State of Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources, and Arizona State University, NASA DEVELOP mapped wetland extent and short-term sea-level rise inundation risk. We utilized Earth observations over a 10-year span (2013 – 2022) that included the NASA MEaSUREs Gridded Sea Surface Height Anomalies and MEaSUREs Group for High Resolution Sea Surface Temperature datasets, United States Geological Survey (USGS) Hawai'i Digital Elevation Models (DEM), and in-situ tidal gauge data. Flood risk index values were acquired for five known Hawai’i flood events between 2019 – 2021 from the Global Flood Mapper tool on Google Earth Engine. We used a random forest model to predict short-term sea-level rise inundation risk along the entire coast of Hawai’i. Current wetland extents and probabilistic locations of new wetlands were modeled with the most recently available data from PlanetScope Surface Reflectance optical imagery (2022), USGS 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) 10m DEM (2013), temperature and precipitation data from the Hawai’i Climate Atlas, and soils data from the Hawai’i Soil Atlas (2014) using the Wetland Intrinsic Potential tool. Results indicated locations that had the highest probability of wetland creation. The end products aimed to help the partners prioritize efforts to meeting regulation requirements for wetlands protection, evaluate the inundation risk to historical features, and support decision-making for their Shoreline Setback and Climate Adaption plans.