Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

As sea level rises, much of Honolulu and Waikiki vulnerable to groundwater inundation

29.03.2017

New research from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa (UHM) reveals a large part of the heavily urbanized area of Honolulu and Waikiki, Hawai'i is at risk of groundwater inundation--flooding that occurs as groundwater is lifted above the ground surface due to sea level rise.

Shellie Habel, lead author of the study and doctoral student in the UHM Department of Geology and Geophysics, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), and colleagues developed a computer model that combines ground elevation, groundwater location, monitoring data, estimates of tidal influence, and numerical groundwater-flow modeling to simulate future flood scenarios in the urban core as sea level rises three feet, as is projected for this century under certain climate change scenarios.


This construction trench in Waikiki shows that the water table is nearly at the ground surface at high tide.

Credit: UHM Coastal Geology Group

"This flooding will threaten $5 billion of taxable real estate; flood nearly 30 miles of roadway; and impact pedestrians, commercial and recreation activities, tourism, transportation, and infrastructure," said Habel. "The flooding will occur regardless of seawall construction, and thus will require innovative planning and intensive engineering efforts to accommodate standing water in the streets."

Surprisingly, the team of researchers also discovered 86% of active cesspools in the study area are likely currently inundated by groundwater. This suggests that cesspool effluent is now entering coastal groundwater and coastal environments in the study area.

Sea level rise of approximately three feet would fully inundate 39 cesspools, introducing effluent at the ground surface where people work and live. This presents a serious health concern that will become progressively more serious as contaminated waters begin breaching the ground surface.

They also found that the water table is close to the ground surface--within two feet at high tide--in many places. This narrow unsaturated space means that groundwater inundation will become a serious concern well before the end of the century. When it rains and infiltration fills this space, it is a problem already.

"Waikiki, the gateway of the state's tourism industry, currently has such narrow unsaturated space that many construction projects working below the ground surface have to dewater the excavation before construction can begin," said Habel.

"Our findings suggest that coastal communities in Hawai'i and globally are exposed to complex groundwater flooding hazards associated with sea level rise in addition to the typical concerns of coastal erosion and wave overtopping," said Chip Fletcher, professor of Geology and Geophysics and associate dean in SOEST and principal investigator on the study.

"Groundwater inundation will require entirely unique adaptation methods if we are to continue to live in and develop the coastal zone. Coastal planners and community stakeholders will need to work with architects, engineers, geologists, ecologists, economists, hydrologists, and other innovative thinkers in order to manage these problems." 

This study identified particular locations and infrastructure that will be vulnerable to future flooding and is a crucial first step towards addressing future challenges. The team of researchers hope to use this methodology to identify future flooding and at risk infrastructure in other locations, as well as assist in developing adaptation efforts among vulnerable coastal communities.

###

Habel, S., Fletcher, C.H., Rotzoll, K., El-Kadi, A.I., 2017. Development of a model to simulate groundwater inundation induced by sea-level rise and high tides in Honolulu, Hawaii. Water Research. 114, 122-134. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2017.02.035

Media Contact

Marcie Grabowski
mworkman@hawaii.edu
808-956-3151

 @UHManoaNews

http://manoa.hawaii.edu 

Marcie Grabowski | EurekAlert!

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Global study of world's beaches shows threat to protected areas
19.07.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht NSF-supported researchers to present new results on hurricanes and other extreme events
19.07.2018 | National Science Foundation

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>