The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) will develop a high-resolution, real-time wave run-up forecast and notification system for West Maui’s coastline with a $500,000 award from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Regional Coastal Resilience Grants Program.
PacIOOS will also model a suite of inundation planning scenarios that take rising sea levels and increasing wave energies into account. Site-specific, short- and long-term forecasts, will strengthen West Maui’s coastal community and economy by enhancing preparedness and response operations, and by informing future land use planning. The three-year project is expected to begin in October 2017.
“We are affected by chronic shoreline erosion in West Maui. Some of the properties that are built close to the shoreline are literally on the brink of falling into the ocean,” said co-investigator Tara Owens, UH Sea Grant College Program coastal processes extension agent on Maui. “Flooding and wave inundation is also a major concern for our infrastructure, including Honoapiʻilani Highway, which is the only reliable access to this part of the island. These roughly 21 miles of coastline are extremely important for Maui’s economy, local businesses, homeowners and visitors, and yet they are extremely vulnerable to the impacts of rising sea levels and wave inundation.”