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How will we choose as the sea rises?

February 1, 2012

PACN Climate Change Special“…climate change has certainly made things interesting. How will we choose, as the sea rises, which cultural sites we save? How do we decide that the next site for the giant sequoias is hundreds of miles north? Are those warblers here for the first time treated as exotics? These are difficult questions. More than the future of the national parks hangs in the balance, but I am confident that the NPS will play a critical role.”   -J. Jarvis, Director, National Park Service

While you’ll be hard pressed to find a sequoia in Hawaii, Guam, or American Samoa, the same issues are affecting our islands. As sea level rises, mangroves move inland only to collide with with roads and buildings. Historical coastal settlments are in danger of eroding into the sea as more intense storms surge. Hawaii’s native honeycreepers are inching higher and higher upslope to escape mosquitos as the air warms. The list goes on.

To learn more about climate change in the Pacific islands and how the NPS is responding, please take some time to download the Pacific Island Network Climate Change Special.

Sea level rise in PACN parks

2 Comments leave one →
  1. tommoriarty permalink
    February 1, 2012 4:50 pm

    The most commonly quoted sea level rise projection for the 21st century is from Vermeer and Rahmstorf (PNAS, 2009). They relied on 20th century sea level data from Church and White (Geophysical Research Letters, 2006). Church and White built their sea level data from the tide gauge data at the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL).

    You can see the entire set of PSMSL tide gauge data, set to music no less, here…

    It is a fun way to look for sea level rise acceleration.

  2. March 10, 2012 6:55 am

    Koke’e State Park on Kaua’i is home to many cultivated Sequoia sempervirens.

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