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Evidence of global warming. Hawaiian coral reefs are being threatened by torrential rains

“Similar events are the most devastating to coral reefs.” Mark Aiken, Senior Advisor to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and former director of the Coral Reef Watch, told AP C. “The warmer and wetter climate in the Pacific tends to intensify current meteorological patterns. “We can confidently expect storms to be more frequent and stronger,” said Hawaiian state climate scientist Bao Xinzhu.

Coral reefs are one of the most important parts of the Hawaiian ocean ecosystem and are extremely important to the island’s economy. It protects inhabited shores from massive waves during tropical storms, a benefit the US Geological Survey estimated at $ 860 million (18 billion kronor) annually. Add to that tourism, fishing, cultural value and other factors, according to NOAA, the coral reefs are worth $ 33 billion, or three-quarters of a trillion kroner.

“We saw 11 sudden floods last month. One of them flooded the entire city of Hlewa. Meanwhile, March was the wettest in fifteen years. Similar rains are a big challenge for the islands. We have small river basins here, but they are steep.” Said a hydrologist from Hawaii. Kevin Kodama told the AP, almost every heavy rain will cause flash floods here.

Sure, the situation is not affected by massive deforestation and construction, which leads to faster runoff, but not entirely native wildlife also play a role: pigs, deer, and goats, which graze on vegetation and increase erosion, resulting in destructive coral deposition. Mountains washed off sediments smother coral reefs, mud blocks sunlight, which super-sensitive corals also need to survive for change. Then the sewage wastes. There are an estimated 88,000 waste pits on the islands, many of them in coastal areas. When it rains heavily, it overflows and everything in it escapes into the ocean.

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Visible drop

In the town of Pupukea, just a short distance from the famous Banzai Pipelina cliff, a popular surfing spot, more than 1.25 billion liters of sewage flows into the ocean every year. In many places near the Big Island, there is an apparent loss of live coral reefs. For widely watched coral reefs near the city of Bouakou, reef coverage has decreased by seventy percent since 1975.

The Hawaiian government has banned the construction of new cesspit wells, existing ones that it wants to get rid of by 2050. Meanwhile, in cooperation with scientists, it uses satellite data that indicates the relationship between ground pollutants from wastewater and coral health.

The bimonthly rainy days this year were far from the first to damage the slopes of Hawaii. In 2018, the storm cut a number of island settlements after a few weeks of civilization, and set a record for rain in the United States in one day, it rained nearly 1,300 mm per square meter. The number of fish near Hawaii has decreased by twenty percent. Axolotls, which clean the coral reefs and maintain their shape, lost forty percent. A similar pressure system was for islands this year in 2002, according to ecologist Coley Rodgers of the Department of Marine Biology at the University of Hawaii, “killing nearly the entire coral reef.”

“The indigenous Hawaiians knew that what would happen in the mountains would affect their hunting. They knew that the better the mountain waters, the healthier the coral reefs and vice versa.”

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