Waves of Change: Coexisting with Oceanic Oscillations in the Marshall Islands

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Project Team: US Pacific Islands Oceans

Team Location: NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information ‰ÛÒ Asheville, North Carolina

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India Young

Alec Courtright

Katie Walker

Saraneh Fitzgerald


Michael Kruk (Earth Resources Technology, Inc., NOAA NCEI)

Sea Level Anomaly from Jason 2 satellite altimeter. The Republic of the Marshall Islands Exclusive Economic Zone is shaded blue. Sea level anomaly heights range from low (dark blue) to high (dark orange). Image Credit: US Pacific Islands Oceans Team


The project team partnered with the Regional Climate Services Director (RCSD) for the Pacific Region under NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) to analyze near-real time (i.e., weekly) spatial and temporal patterns and trends in sea-surface height (SSH) around the US Affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI). Ocean Surface Topography Mission data and current tidal data from in situ measurements were used in conjunction with in situ and satellite data from buoys, tide gauges, NASA’s Sea Surface Height (SSH) climate record derived from the TOPEX/Poseidon mission and Ocean Surface Topography Mission data from Jason-2 and Jason-3 satellites, and a blend of satellites for NOAA’s CoastWatch and OceanWatch. The team produced a significant wave height climatology, a wave direction climatology, a 1 week to 3 week outlook, and a categorical inundation risk metric to assess island inundation risk. End users will use the risk metric tool set climatologies and distribute this information to coastal hazard and climate adaptation decision makers in the USAPI.

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