Report: How Hawaii is Being Affected by Climate Change

Napali Coast, Kauai, Nawiliwili, Nature, Hawaii

Climate change is not just a problem for the future––it’s happening right now and in some places more than others. 

The state of Hawaii has been experiencing many climate change effects that are affecting its residents, businesses, and communities. 

People are becoming more conscious of their habits and ways to help reduce these impacts as the world becomes more aware of how our actions can affect those around us. 

In this guide, we’ll look at what climate change means for Hawaii in particular, as well as what individuals, businesses, and communities are doing to confront these changes head-on.

What’s happening in Hawaii?

The island state of Hawaii is experiencing a slew of problems as a result of climate change.

Rising sea levels have already impacted the country’s coasts, expanding some beaches while shrinking others as water moves further inland. Sea level rise has also resulted in coastal erosion, which can have an impact on tourism in these areas because people are less likely to visit a beach if they can’t see it from their hotel. 

Rising sea levels have also impacted Hawaii’s infrastructure, such as its airport, roads, highways, and agricultural areas that have been flooded with salt water from the ocean. 

The state is already spending millions of dollars to raise roadways that run alongside beaches to keep them open for use by both residents and tourists. 

Here is a glance of what is occurring in Hawaii:

  • Rising sea levels 
  • Coastal erosion 
  • Hotter, drier summers, and wetter winters 
  • Weaker trade winds 
  • More extreme weather events such as hurricanes, floods, droughts, and wildfires. 

All these have a significant impact on tourism in Hawaii, which is the state’s primary industry. In 2020 the state reported that it had nearly $14 billion in revenue from tourism alone.

Hotter summers, and wetter winters, as well as weaker trade winds and more extreme weather events such as hurricanes, floods, droughts, and wildfires, all, have a significant impact on tourism. 

Hawaii’s average temperature is rising

As a result of hurricanes becoming stronger and rainfall increasing, Hawaii is beginning to experience more extreme weather patterns than other parts of the world. 

According to scientists, the temperature has risen by about two degrees, making it warmer than in previous years. This causes significant problems for many people who live on the islands, as they face numerous risks such as flooding and landslides.

One of the most severe issues confronting Hawaii right now is its vulnerability to flooding as a result of climate change. 

Scientists believe that if global warming continues at this rate, residents of Oahu and Kauai may face up to 80 floods per year by 2040, up from less than one flood per year previously.

People are working to improve sewer systems as one way to help combat this problem. Communities in Hawaii have begun to invest more in their sewer systems, recognizing how vulnerable they will become if sea levels continue to rise and rainfall becomes more intense than ever before.

Increased rainfall and flooding from the sea level rise

The increase will also have a greater impact on sea-level rise, one of Hawaii’s most serious threats. 

People can help mitigate these effects by planting native trees and plants to restore forests and fishponds, absorbing more carbon dioxide from the air. People should also try to reduce waste by recycling more items that they no longer use or can live without.

Rising ocean water levels are threatening coastal communities

Areas are being flooded with salt water from the ocean, wreaking havoc on Hawaii’s infrastructure. 

This includes its airports, roads, highways, and agricultural areas that are flooded by salt water when it rains excessively or when high tides occur as a result of stronger hurricanes. 

Despite the state already committing millions of dollars for roadways along beaches so that residents and tourists can use them, this is likely to continue to be an ongoing problem. 

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Warmer temperatures are damaging coral reefs

Climate change has caused a decline in coral reef health. Coral reefs are a popular tourist attraction as people love to go snorkeling and diving. However, coral reef health is deteriorating as a result of warming waters caused by climate change, which causes coral bleaching. 

The El Nino weather pattern, which causes water temperatures to rise above normal levels every two or three years, has been the primary cause of this problem. The coral dies as a result of the bleaching, which eventually kills off other plants and animals in the ecosystem.

Hurricanes cause massive amounts of damage

Hurricanes have become more intense and frequent, causing billions of dollars of damage to infrastructure and agriculture in Hawaii.  

This includes destroying homes, flooding roads and streets with up to five feet of water, and landslides that destroy beaches and coastal highways along people’s homes’ coastlines.

Individuals can help to mitigate the effects of climate change by reducing their carbon footprint

This includes recycling and reusing items like plastic bags and bottles to reduce the amount of waste we generate each day. Another option is to use alternative energy sources such as solar panels or wind turbines, which require fewer fossil fuels and emit more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

This is just one of the many issues that Hawaii is dealing with due to climate change. We can work together to prevent these effects from worsening by lowering our carbon footprint.

Hawaii’s tourism is also affected by climate change

The state of Hawaii has taken numerous steps to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change. 

Hawaii is taking a stand against global warming, from strict carbon emission regulations to a ban on plastic bags, and it’s hurting their economy in the process.

Rising sea levels have had an impact all along the island chain, from beach erosion to saltwater intrusion into aquifers that supply drinking water. Furthermore, Hawaii is vulnerable to extreme weather events such as hurricanes and droughts, resulting in food shortages.

In an effort to mitigate these effects, the state has committed to using 100 percent renewable energy by 2045, which will significantly reduce carbon emissions. Regardless, the tourism industry is still feeling the effects of global warming and must find a way to thrive in a changing environment.

As Hawaii works to reduce these impacts on its state, it will be critical to look at what other states and countries are doing to continue making progress against climate change. Furthermore, the tourism industry must consider how it can continue to be a significant source of income in an altered state.

Climate change has had and continues to have an impact on everyone around them, whether they realize it or not, but there are steps we can all take to mitigate these negative consequences. Leaders, individuals, and communities must accept responsibility and find ways to demonstrate how they are working to mitigate the consequences.

Aspiration Zero: Embrace the change

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It doesn’t take much effort or change in lifestyle habits to go carbon neutral with Aspiration Zero either––they’ll plant trees on your behalf. Let’s get started!

 

Recommended Pages:
North Carolina Climate Report: How Climate Change Is Affecting Charlotte
10 Destinations Being “Disappeared” by Changing Climate
California Climate Report: How Climate Change is Affecting The State

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