New tool available to forecast potential wave inundation on Kwajalein Atoll

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Fiona Langenberger, 808-956-8784
Communications and Program Coordinator, PacIOOS
Dr. Martin Guiles, 808-286-4047
Senior Physical Oceanographic Research Specialist, PacIOOS
Posted: Jul 15, 2015

Kwajalein – A new PacIOOS tool is now available that forecasts the potential occurrence of high sea levels and wave inundation for the most populated segments of Kwajalein Atoll. The forecast is updated hourly and accessible to the public on the PacIOOS website.

“Due to the low elevation of the Marshall Islands, communities are vulnerable to flooding and wave inundation. Storm events, high waves, extreme tides, or a combination of these factors can threaten public health and safety,” says Dr. Doug Luther, PacIOOS co-investigator and Professor of Oceanography at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. “The forecast will increase community resilience and enhance preparedness by providing decision-makers, agency representatives, and community members with some time to plan in advance of potential flooding events.”

A similar forecast is available for Majuro Atoll and has been tested over the past 10 months. Based on stakeholder feedback, the presentation was recently revised to improve usability and readability. Additionally, inundation heights of several documented events have been added as examples to better communicate the potential threat of approaching events.

The team of researchers will continue to refine the forecasts for both Kwajalein and Majuro, with the support of local partners. “Ground truthing our model outputs is important for increasing accuracy. These forecasts are complex, taking many different oceanic, atmospheric and shoreline parameters into consideration,” explains Dr. Martin Guiles, PacIOOS Senior Physical Oceanographic Research Specialist.

Guiles adds, “The forecasts do not include predictions of tsunamis or storm surge flooding. In case of those events, the public is advised to seek advice from the National Weather Service.”


On the Web

Kwajalein Wave Inundation Forecast:

Majuro Wave Inundation Forecast:   

To learn more about PacIOOS:


About PacIOOS

The Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) believes that ocean data and information can help save lives and resources. In collaboration with its partners, PacIOOS aims to provide sustained ocean observations in order to support decision-making and science for stakeholders who call the Pacific Islands home. Based within the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, PacIOOS is part of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®).