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Report Addresses Climate Change Impact on Hawaiian Islands


HONOLULU, HAWAII—The Hawaiian Islands represent a wide diversity of ecosystems and environments, including areas of breathtaking natural beauty as well as densely populated coastal cities. These unique environments are already changing under the influence of climate change from the effects of increasing temperatures, decreasing rainfall, rising seas, coastal erosion, land use and development changes, and increasing demands on natural resources. What can we expect in the future, and how can we best prepare?

A new report titled, “Climate Change Impacts in Hawaii: A summary of climate change and its impacts to Hawaii’s ecosystems and communities,” produced by the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program (UH Sea Grant) with funding from the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), helps with answers. It addresses such basic questions as, “What does climate change look like?” and “What is the current state of scientific knowledge regarding climate change globally, and how does it relate to Hawaii specifically?”

By addressing these fundamental questions, UH Sea Grant and HTA are striving to improve the general understanding of climate change and its associated impacts, which in turn will help communities be better prepared to undertake climate adaptation and mitigation efforts.

Series of Reports Produced

Dolan Eversole, coordinator of the NOAA Sea Grant Coastal Storms Program for the Pacific Islands Region and lead author of the report, noted, “While there is a large amount of science on global climate change available, sorting through and interpreting this often very technical and sometimes disparate information can be confusing and time-consuming. We produced a series of reports that we hope will make this information widely accessible and easy to understand, and in turn will help all of us anticipate and prepare for the changes that we are beginning to see in the islands.”

“The HTA partnered with the University of Hawaii to fund the climate change study,” said HTA President and CEO Mike McCartney. “HTA is a knowledge-based organization and we believe it’s important to be informed about Hawaii’s environment as it relates to tourism. We will use this study to help guide us in how we address our environmental initiatives.”

The report is part of a series that also includes Climate Change and the Visitor Industry: People, Place, Culture, and the Hawai‘i Experience; and HTA Stakeholder Outreach Workshop: Summaries and Risk Perception Analysis. Digital versions of all three reports are available at http://seagrant.soest.hawaii.edu/publications and a limited number of hard copies are available by request by calling (808) 956-7410.

The University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program is part of the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology. It supports an innovative program of research, education and extension services directed to the improved understanding and stewardship of coastal and marine resources of the state, region and nation.