Tuvalu launches new coastal hazard modelling tool

In collaboration with the Pacific Community (SPC), the Tuvalu Coastal Adaptation Project (TCAP) has handed over to Government of Tuvalu a state-of-the-art online platform which, for the first time, allows the atoll nation to clearly identify, plan for, and reduce risks associated with sea level rise and more frequent intense storms driven by climate change. 

UNDP photo

Land is an extremely precious resource for an atoll nation like Tuvalu, which has only approximately 25 square kilometres in total across its nine atolls, much of it less than one metre above spring tide levels.

The islands are seldom more than a few hundred metres across, often far less.

Understanding how shorelines are changing, and the risks of inundation, is crucial to the country’s climate change adaptation response, said UNDP.

Comprising several tools in one dashboard, the platform covers all nine of Tuvalu’s atolls and islands.

It includes inundation modelling due to sea level rise and storm waves, shoreline change detection and monitoring, damage and loss, and tools to identify marine hazards exposure.

The shoreline monitoring tool shows change over time and reveals that while Tuvalu’s islands are dynamic – continuously shifting according to weather and climate conditions, storms, and human activities – the great concern is that the combination of sea level rise, changes to storm frequency and intensity, and degradation of living fringing reefs (bleaching and acidification) may lead to many shores becoming more vulnerable to erosion.

The only way to detect such negative trends over time is to monitor — the newly launched platform provides that capacity, nationwide, said UNDP.

The platform is expected to be used by a large range of decision-makers and government departments, development agencies and their projects as well as NGOs and even buyers of private property.