Empirical projection of future shoreline position change in the main Hawaiian Islands due to sea level rise


The beaches of Kauaʻi and other Hawaiian Islands are highly important from cultural, ecological, and economic standpoints, but many are experiencing chronic erosion due to sea level rise. Modelling based on historical beach data and projected sea level rise suggests that almost all erodible beach areas on Kauaʻi will begin to erode, and the rate of beach loss will increase significantly by 2050. Our model is easily extensible to other areas, and the information can be used as part of coastal hazard assessments and large-scale adaptive planning in order to try to maintain some beach habitats as well as prevent property and infrastructure damage. This work on the island of Kauaʻi has been added to the statewide study of shoreline sea level rise vulnerability led by the Hawaiʻi State Intergovernmental Climate Adaptation Committee.

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This research feature was produced by the Pacific Islands Climate Science Center.

Related Publications

D.J. Spirandelli, T.R. Anderson, R. Porro, and C. H. Fletcher, 2016 | Improving Adaptation Planning for Future Sea-Level Rise | Journal of Planning Education and Researchhttps://doi.org/10.1177/0739456X16657160 

T.R. Anderson, L.N. Frazer, and C.H. Fletcher, 2015 | Long-term shoreline change at Kailua, Hawaii, using regularized single transect | Journal of Coastal Researchhttps://doi.org/10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-13-00202.1

T.R. Anderson, C.H. Fletcher, MM. Barbee, L.N. Frazer, and B.M. Romine | Doubling of coastal erosion under rising sea level by mid-century in Hawaii | Natural Hazardshttps://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-015-1698-6

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