Storm wipes Hawaiian island off map

Storm wipes Hawaiian island off map

Researchers Chip Fletcher and Kristian McDonald from the University of Hawaii's School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology also took drone footage over East Island in July. Fletcher added that it's another issue "in the wall of the network of ecosystem diversity on this planet that is being dismantled".

"An islet named Whale-Skate Island, also once an important habitat for Hawaiian monk seals, vanished from French Frigate Shoals in the 1990s and has not reappeared".

One of the most intense Pacific hurricanes on record at its peak, Walaka buzzed just 70 miles west of East Island as a major Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 125 mph, walloping Hawaii's Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.

Scientists say the storm's massive surge, as well as rising sea levels resulting from climate change, factored into the island's disappearance.

Scientists said East Island was nearly entirely washed away by the storm a few weeks ago.

Some 96 percent of the Hawaiian sea turtles used to nest on the French Frigate Shoals, and over half of them on the now-submerged East Island.

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The island was a crucial habitat for Hawaiian green sea turtles and monk seals.

The loss of the island was particularly painful for Fletcher. "Little did we know it could disappear so quickly". East Island is the second-largest island of the French Frigate Shoals. "It's not a hoax propagated in China as some folks have said", an apparent reference to President Donald Trump's remarks that resurfaced during his campaign.

"The take-home message is climate change is real and it's happening now", Randy Kosaki, NOAA's deputy superintendent of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, told Honolulu Civil Beat.

At one point, the island had a U.S. Coast Guard radar station but it was decommissioned in 1952. The 1,350-mile string of coral islands, seamounts and shoals feature a riot of life, including coral, fish, birds and mammals, many unique to Hawaii.

US Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration staff flew over the area on the weekend to photograph any impacts from the hurricane. "Based on the data, managers will determine next steps and management actions". The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of stlucianewsonline.com, its sponsors or advertisers.

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