Establishing Climate Resilient Communities in American Samoa

Climate change will impact coral reefs and coastal communities through the effects of sea level rise, changes in storm and rainfall frequency and intensity, increased sea surface temperatures and ocean acidification. Models and vulnerability assessments can prepare communities for potential impacts through planning for climate resiliency. A climate resilient community is better prepared to effectively protect people, society, and resources from a changing climate.

The project is a partnership between the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, PIFSC, NMFS' Pacific Islands Regional Office, and the National Ocean Service's Pacific Services Center that combined socioeconomic and geographic tools to address local climate issues. The University of Hawaii's Coastal Geography Group developed models of the potential impacts of Pacific sea level rise and climate change specific to Amouli village, developing topographic models of coastal inundation under different sea level rise. This information was shared with the village of Amouli, and the village developed a climate resiliency plan based on projected models and predicted village impacts. Former Social Research Project Manager Arielle Levine accompanied the team conducting initial measurements in 2010 and presented the climate modeling results back to the community during a village meeting. A workshop was held in 2011, and the village finalized a climate resiliency plan in 2012. For additional information, please contact Arielle at Arielle.Levine@noaa.gov.