Southeastern Section - 61st Annual Meeting (12 April 2012)
Paper No. 26-8
Presentation Time: 4:15 PM-4:35 PM

EXAMINING THE PHYSICAL AND ECONOMIC IMPACTS OF SEA-LEVEL RISE AT THE COMMUNITY LEVEL: HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC

GRIFFITH, Adam1, YOUNG, Robert S.1, STATON, Joseph2, and MORGAN, Daniel3, (1) Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines, Western Carolina University, 90 University Way, Belk Building Room 294, Cullowhee, NC 28723, agriffith@wcu.edu, (2) University of South Carolina, Beaufort - South, One University Boulevard, Bluffton, SC 29909, (3) Beaufort County GIS Department, 100 Ribaut Road, Beaufort, SC 29902-4453

Hilton Head Island is a centerpiece of the South Carolina beach-based tourism industry which stands to suffer significant losses to infrastructure and ecosystems unless long-term adaptive planning is implemented. Significant challenges to enacting proactive legislation exist, such as imperceptions by the public, lack of a sense of urgency, and lack of high-quality, science-based projections of likely impacted areas. By combining high quality LIDAR based elevation data with parcel data provided by the county, a framework for action can be built.

A 5 ft resolution DEM based on a 2002 LIDAR flight of Beaufort County was used to derive 1 ft contour lines relative to NAVD88. Because MHW at Hilton Head is 3.75 ft, the 6 ft contour interval was used to estimate a sea-level rise scenario of 2.25 ft. Most projections for future sea level indicate that we will experience a rise of at least 2.25 ft by the end of the century. To highlight areas impacted, areas below 6 ft in elevation were overlain with both Beaufort County parcel data and 30 m resolution LandSat landcover data. Problem areas in the road network and impacted buildings were also identified.

Results estimate that 22% of Hilton Head Island will be inundated with water more than half the time given 2.25 ft of rise in sea level. One hundred percent of land parcels owned by the Town of Hilton Head (>900 acres) will be impacted and represent a wide variety of municipal services and infrastructure types. The largest land cover classes in areas of loss were dry mixed forest/woodland (1655 acres) and marsh/emergent wetland (1182 acres). Over 500 acres of urban lands were impacted by a 2.25 ft sea-level rise.

Southeastern Section - 61st Annual Meeting (12 April 2012)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 26
Coastal Response to Sea Level and Climate Changes
Marriott Rennaissance: Grand Ballroom, Salon C1
1:30 PM-5:00 PM, Monday, 2 April 2012

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 44, No. 4, p. 75

© Copyright 2012 The Geological Society of America (GSA), all rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to the author(s) of this abstract to reproduce and distribute it freely, for noncommercial purposes. Permission is hereby granted to any individual scientist to download a single copy of this electronic file and reproduce up to 20 paper copies for noncommercial purposes advancing science and education, including classroom use, providing all reproductions include the complete content shown here, including the author information. All other forms of reproduction and/or transmittal are prohibited without written permission from GSA Copyright Permissions.