SPC Geoscience Division

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Newsflash

The data and facilities provided by the South Pacific Sea Level and Climate Monitoring Project (SPSLCMP) is well known for its use in tracking sealevel change and variability over time and is even used to track sealevel changes which occur due to storms and tsunami in the Pacific Islands Region.

However, it is not generally known that SPSLCMP data and facilities also provide a critical service and information which supports work by the Ocean & Islands Programme’s Maritime Boundary Sector.

Given these two work Sectors both lay within the Ocean & Islands Programme, it’s easy to overlook the close and complementary interaction but it’s a story worth telling. Maritime Boundaries (often just thought of as EEZs – Exclusive Economic Zones) have to be very accurately measured from the shores of each Island State or Territory.

That shoreline starting point is called a “baseline” and in the Tropical Pacific these usually correspond to a line “drawn” using GIS techniques around the outer reef edges of an island or island group at Lowest Astronomical Tide (LAT).