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Already, Whale Skate Island inthe Northwest Hawaiian Islandshas completely disappeared, in theprocess washing away habitats orbirds, seals, and turtles.
Hawaii’s coasts are currently protectedby underwater coral rees that serveas storm barriers or the mainlandand home to many sh species.
Coral rees are very sensitive to water temperature changes,
and the particularly strong 1997-1998ENSO cycle—combined with theassociated increase in ocean temper-ature—resulted in widespread coral bleaching worldwide.
As thecolorul tissue o the coral is strippedaway through bleaching (resultingrom water temperature increases o as little as 1.8ºF),
the bone-whiteskeleton is let behind, possibly leadingto the death o the coral organism.
Cloud Forests Especially Vulner-able to Climate Change
Hawaiian ecosystems—especially those in the high-elevation areas—acean uncertain uture. Scientists high-light two scenarios. I climate changecauses increases in the rade WindInversion (WI), Hawaii will likely see an upward shit o areas suitableor plant growth, but the state will notsee a major increase in drought occur-rence. However, drought requency would rise i, simultaneously, ENSOevents become increasingly intense andthe WI alls. With lower hangingclouds and less moisture, the tree line would likely retreat.
Biological invasion and habitatdestruction have already caused theextinction o some species, and any climate shit will most likely exacer-bate such losses, as scientists predictsuch disruption would avor non-indigenous species. Te U.S Geolog-ical Survey’s Hawaiian Ecosystemsat Risk project asserts that millionso dollars worth o crop losses, loss o native species and orests, as well asspread o disease is already attributableto such invasions.
Te rate o species extinction on theHawaiian Islands is the highest inthe nation.
Moreover, the islandstogether currently house 317 threat-ened and endangered species.
High-elevation cloud orest areassuch as Haleakala and Hawaii Volca-noes National Park are especially atrisk rom climate change, since evensmall shits could cause major localvariations in rainall, cloud cover,and humidity.
Scientists expect thatany such change would avor invasivenon-native species, allowing them tosurvive in areas where native speciespreviously lived with competition. Forexample, any warming that allowsmosquitoes carrying avian malaria tosurvive at higher elevations threatensthe birds that currently thrive at thoseelevations.
Impact o Climate Change on Tourism and Agriculture Indus-tries
ourism is the most importantindustry in Hawaii.
In 2008, thedirect and indirect impact o thestatewide visitor industry equaled nearly 17% o the gross stateproduct and provided 151,331civilian jobs and over 21% o statetaxes.
I potential tourists decidenot to go to Hawaii because it is toohot, or the beaches or native plantsand animals have disappeared, conse-quences or the state will be dire.Te tourism industry relies heavily ontransportation availability. ransporta-tion accounts or more than 60% o
Tourism is the most importantindustry in Hawaii. In 2008, the directand indirect impact o the statewidevisitor industry equaled nearly17% o the gross state product andprovided 151,331 civilian jobs andover 21% o state taxes.
Hawaii’s total energy consumption,approximately hal o which is usedto uel both military and commer-cial planes.
Moreover, most o theinrastructure—roads, bridges, docks, water supply systems, and hotels—isconcentrated near the coasts, and isthereore particularly vulnerable torising sea levels and increasing stormrequency and intensity. Hawaii’s portsare also crucial to petroleum distribu-tion to the islands.
In 1992, Hurricane Iniki—themost powerul hurricane to strikeHawaii in the recent past—caused $2.3 billion in property damage onKauai.
I the requency and severity o storms increases as many scientistspredict, a comparable hurricane today would cause many more billions o
Source: Hawaii Department o Business, Economic Development and ourism
Hawaiian LaborForce Projected tobe Directly Affected