Impacts of sea level rise already being felt — and it will only get worse

A new report is providing the first statewide assessment of the potential hazards and costly impacts to Hawaii’s economy and shorelines with rising sea levels.  It’s the first report by the Hawai‘i Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission, which was established in 2014.

The document says studies predict global sea levels could rise more than three feet by year 2100, with more recent projections showing this magnitude of sea level rise occurring as early as year 2060. Hawai‘i researchers who worked on the report say if nothing is done to prepare for the inevitable rise in sea levels, the consequences will be devastating for the state.

“Between two feet and three feet of sea level rise, normal summer waves on the south shore suddenly go from flooding the first row of houses to flooding the first two blocks of houses,” said Chip Fletcher, professor of Geology and Geophysics and associate dean at SOEST.

Read more about it at Hawaii News Now and at the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. Download and read the full report PDF here.

In related recent news items, read an interview with Dolan Eversole, Waikīkī Beach management coordinator through the University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program, in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (subscription required). Also read about, and watch the video report (autoplays) about, erosion of Sunset Beach on O‘ahu’s North Shore at Hawaii News Now.

KFVE-TV, K5 broadcast the first airing of the DLNR & YOU TV special, “Rising Seas in Hawai‘i.  This half-hour documentary tells the stories of citizens, scientists, policymakers and political leaders who are deeply engaged in conversations about and planning for rising seas in the coming years and decades.  The program is now available for viewing and linking at: