Elevated Sea Levels in Hawaiʻi this Summer


Elevated Sea Levels in Hawaiʻi this Summer

A combination of the highest astronomical tides of the year (also known as “King Tides”), global sea level rise, delayed sea level effects from the 2014-2016 El Niño, Pacific-wide climate and sea level variability, and localized eddies have caused record-breaking sea level heights in Hawaiʻi. Flooding and wave inundation have occurred in many parts of the state at the end of April and May, in particular when large swell events coincide.

The University of Hawaiʻi Sea Level Center’s seasonal outlook suggests that high water levels are likely to persist through the summer. Advance notice of higher than normal sea levels and potential wave run-up help to increase coastal resiliency and preparedness. PacIOOS provides a 6-Day High Sea Level Forecast for six locations within the Hawaiian Islands to predict higher than normal water levels. In addition, the PacIOOS Wave Run-up Forecast is also available for two locations in Hawaiʻi: Waikīkī and the North Shore of Oʻahu. Community members, businesses, and agencies are encouraged to regularly check the forecast to stay informed.

The elevated water levels paired with King Tides provide a glimpse at what is expected to become the “new normal” over the next decades due to global sea level rise. King Tides will occur again around the new moons on June 23, and July 21. The Hawaiʻi Sea Grant Program is asking the public to help document high water levels and associated impacts through a photo survey. Become a citizen scientist and participate in the Hawaiʻi and Pacific Islands King Tides Project!

More information is available at http://hawaiisealevel.org.

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Did you know?

PacIOOS is the first regional association that was certified as a Regional Information Coordination Entity (RICE) by the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). Certification provides NOAA and its interagency partners a means to verify that a regional association’s organizational and operational practices, including data management, meet recognized and established standards set by NOAA.