Hawaii scrambles to save 4,000 structures from rising sea levels

Hawaii has issued a number of directives to address and minimise the threat posed by climate change and sea level rises.

A report, called "Sea Level Rise Guidance and Hawaii", says sea levels in the region will rise a metre by 2050.

Rising sea levels is expected to threaten 4,000 homes, shops and offices on the island of Oahu.

Satellite view of Hawaii (NASA/Jacques Descloitres/Wikimedia Commons)

Some 3,800ha of land and 29km of roads on the island will be affected by flooding.

Modelling from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggests that flooding exceeding 2017’s "king tide", when sea levels were 200mm above expected levels, will occur twice a month in Honolulu before 2050.

The mean sea level for Honolulu’s tide gauge station (NOAA)

To combat the rising tide, infrastructure and facilities will have to be elevated or relocated.

In the future, local governments will follow new land use policies as well as adopting design and construction standards to counteract climate change and sea level increases.

Josh Stanbro, from Honolulu’s Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency, said: "The voters of Oahu established this commission to advise city leadership because they can see first-hand that our climate is changing and we need to act. This directive will make us stronger and safer."

Kirk Caldwell, Honolulu major, said: "If you take no action and we live with the consequences, then what happens to Waikiki? Our largest industry, $15bn in revenue, what happens? If we don’t take action now we’ll have worse consequences later."

Top image: Satellite view of Hawaii (NASA/Jacques Descloitres/Wikimedia Commons)

Story for GCR? Get in touch via email: [email protected]

Latest articles in News