Science

Hurricane wiped entire Hawaiian island off the map

Hurricane wiped entire Hawaiian island off the map

It has already been confirmed by the researchers that Hurricane Walaka has made a serious damage to the East Island that is situated in the French Frigate Shoals. The area of the island reached 4.5 hectares.

East Island is part of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, a 1,350-mile-long stretch of coral islands, banks, seamounts, and shoals.

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

Rising sea levels are also eroding away low-lying islands, with several fragments of land in the Pacific vanishing in recent years.

A statement by the federal managers of the monument said that East Island "appears to be under water", while the neighboring Tern island had its shape altered by the hurricane.

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.

A remote Hawaiian island has totally disappeared overnight - two decades before scientists predicted.

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




Chip Fletcher, a University of Hawaii climate scientist, told the Honolulu Civil Beat this week he was stunned at the news.

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.

"About 96 per cent use the atoll and about half of them used this island", he said.

Fletcher said, 'It's one more chink in the wall of the network of ecosystem diversity on this planet that is being dismantled'.

On Facebook, Fletcher called the event a "silent tragedy" for the French Frigate Shoals and the marine life that nested there.

The storm hit after most of the turtles and seals had migrated for the season, but they will still have to adjust to the new habitat when they return. But climate change is causing the ocean and atmosphere to warm, making storms fiercer, while there's evidence that hurricanes are moving further north into the latitudes where East Island once lay.

Charles Littnan, the director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's protected species division, told HuffPost that it will take years to assess the ramifications of the island's loss.


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