A recent article in Environment and Engineering News describes a report produced by Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources and researchers at the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at the University of Hawaii. This report was published in the journal Global and Planetary Change and urges residents and officials in coastal zones to target sea-level rise impacts in their programs and long-term planning. Lead author on the study Chip Fletcher stated that based on the findings of their report “Purchasing private property and removing all development in that land is the only way that we’ll have beaches in Hawaii towards the second half of the century.”
Sea-level rise is a significant factor in the major shoreline change underway in Hawaii, where 52 to 72 percent of beaches on the chain of islands have eroded over the past century, a recent study has found. The more than 7 million tourists who flock to Hawaii’s beaches each year are part of an array of contributors to erosion. In addition to the influx of visitors, developments along the coasts continue to provoke shoreline changes.