Thursday, 22 November, 2018

Hawaiian island ‘vanishes in storm’ amid rising sea levels

Hawaiian Island erased by one of 2018's many Cat 5 storms Hurricane swallows Hawaii island whole
Theresa Hayes | 27 October, 2018, 22:56

While the hurricane spared the most populated big islands, East Island and neighboring Tern Island took a beating.

But the area that served as a home for these animals is almost gone, with only bits of sand still proving it ever existed.

"East Island appears to be under water", said a statement from the Papahānaumokuakea Marine National Monument.

A remote island in the northwestern Hawaiian archipelago has all but vanished after a powerful hurricane swept through the region earlier this month.

The island served as a key habitat to several species of creatures, and it remains to be seen how the place's disappearance beneath the waves will affect them in the long run. Now, it's nearly entirely gone, officials confirmed using satellite imagery.

Dr. Chip Fletcher, a climate scientist at the University of Hawaii, told the Honolulu Civil Beat, which first reported the island's disappearance, that he was doing research on East Island in July.

Satellite images distributed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service show that in just one night, the category 4 Hurricane Walaka all but wiped East Island off the map.

The French Frigate Shoals researchers were monitoring and studying about the green turtles and the monk seals in the mid of October in that Island at the time when Hurricane approached there.

The East Island is home to a large portion of the world's endangered monk seals, and is also a critical nesting ground for sea turtles. He said that he felt that there would be just one more shrink for this planet to end. Fletcher said that they wanted to monitor the island and are disappointed that it is gone; however, they have learned that the islands are more at risk than previously thought. It was used to breed under threat of extinction, monk seals, and rare for today is a kind of green turtle.

The Honolulu Civil Beat estimated that around 96 percent of the species nest in the French Frigate Shoals, half of which are on East Island.

"The take-home message is climate change is real and it's happening now", concluded Kosaki.

"These small, sandy islets are going to really struggle to persist" as the seas rise because of anthropogenic global warming, Charles Littnan, director of NOAA's protected species division, told the Huffington Post.