January 20, 2019

Hawaiian Island Gets Wiped Out by Hurricane Walaka

27 October 2018, 11:00 | Ross Houston

Hawaiian Island Gets Wiped Out by Hurricane Walaka

1 EastIslandFlyBy Drone Pilot Kristian McDonald University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Although experts can not directly trace the shrinking of East Island to the effects of climate change, Clark said, it contributes to the strength and frequency of hurricanes like the one that overtook the island.

East Island, located in the Pacific Ocean, has largely disappeared after being struck by Hurricane Walaka in early October.

As it became known, a powerful storm hit on a Hawaiian island and literally washed it in the open ocean.

For now, it is unclear whether East Island will reappear.

"We've seen islands disappear in the past and re-emerge", he said.

Satellite images taken after the hurricane showed that it has nearly entirely vanished.

He was the second-largest island in the French-frigate-shoals, the largest Atoll of the northwestern Hawaiian Islands. As the hurricane was about to descend on the archipelago, seven researches studying endangered green sea turtles and monk seals were evacuated. Fletcher added that it's another issue "in the wall of the network of ecosystem diversity on this planet that is being dismantled".

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One of the most intense Pacific hurricanes on record at its peak, Walaka buzzed just 70 miles west of East Island as a major Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 125 mph, walloping Hawaii's Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.

"About 96 per cent use the atoll and about half of them used this island", he said. In particular, noted climatologist negative effect on the population of monk seals and green sea turtles.

Scientists say the storm's massive surge, as well as rising sea levels resulting from climate change, factored into the island's disappearance.

"The take home message is climate change is real and it's happening now", Randy Kosaki, the monument's deputy superintendent for research and field operations for NOAA, told Honolulu CB.

In the statement given, Papahanaumokuakea Marine Monument also said that both of the East Island and Tern have equal importance regarding the nesting grounds for the sea turtles who are threatened and also the pupping grounds for the scarce monk seals.

Charles Littnan, a conservation biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told Honolulu Civil Beat that "species are resilient to a point", and while they may find new breeding ground, "there could be a point in the future where that resilience isn't enough".

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