Hawaiian island ‘vanishes in storm’ amid rising sea levels

Rob Waugh
Contributor
Satellite images show Hawaiian island entirely washed away by devastating hurricane

A tiny Hawaiian island has vanished off the map as Hurricane Walaka swept over the half-mile stretch of sand – swamping it beneath the waves.

Experts say that climate change may be partly to blame for the ‘disappearance’ of East Island, which was previously an important pupping area for endangered monk seals.

Before-and-after pictures from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) show how the island was submerged by the raging seas after the powerful hurricane swept through.

Chip Fletcher from the University of Hawaii told Honolulu Civil Beat, ‘I had a holy shit moment, thinking, “Oh my God, it’s gone.

The island was just ‘washed away’ (FWS)

Fletcher says, ‘The probability of occurrences like this goes up with climate change.’

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

‘This is not surprising when you consider the bad luck of a hurricane going into that vicinity and sea level rise already sort of deemed the stressor in the background for these ecosystems.’