Hawaiian island ‘vanishes in storm’ amid rising sea levels

Researchers confirmed East Island in the French Frigate Shoals received significant damage as a result of Hurricane Walaka — a powerful Category 4 storm — roaring over the islands

Hawaiian island ‘vanishes in storm’ amid rising sea levels

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.

Federal and state managers of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument announced they won't know the extent of the damage until they can get out there.

In its wake, however, it seems to have caused an island to disappear.

Thousands of animals inhabiting the island, including the endangered Hawaiian monk seals and green turtles, are expected to have been wiped out across the island.

Scientists from the University of Hawaii confirmed its disappearance after analysing satellite images of the surrounding area. The French Frigate Shoals researchers were studying and monitoring Hawaiian monk seals and Hawaiian green sea turtles and were due to leave the island in the middle of October.

He added to The Guardian: "We wanted to monitor the island so we are disappointed it has gone, but on the other hand we have learned these islands are far more at risk than we thought".

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Important nesting grounds for threatened green sea turtles are now fully submerged after a direct hit by a powerful hurricane on one of Hawaii's largest atolls earlier this month. He said that he felt that there would be just one more shrink for this planet to end.

The loss of East Island, the second biggest islet of the Northwestern Hawaiian islands, to the ocean has had a devastating impact on Hawaiian sea turtles and monk seals.

The powerful storm - one of the most intense hurricanes on record to strike the region - hit at the very end of the breeding season.

"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.

The vanishing of more islands in the near future is possible - though scientists can not say climate change causes hurricanes, scientific evidence shows that storms are stronger and wetter because of climate change.

"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.

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