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Changing Climate in Hawaii Affects Storms and Drought

November 18, 2013
climate

Artwork by R. Mason

When it rains, it pours, at least that’s often true in Hawaii. But when it doesn’t rain much or at all for a long time, it’s called a drought. A warming climate increases the frequency and intensity of both tropical storms and droughts. These two statements appear contradictory, but this trend is predicted to continue. Hawaii has experienced a statewide decline in rainfall over the past two decades. However, the amount of rain from heavy storms has increased by 12%.

Climate models project that Hawaii will experience up to a 10% reduction in wet season precipitation and a 5% increase in dry season precipitation by 2100. Climate models also project that the frequency and intensity of cyclones in the greater Pacific will increase by the end of the 21st century. One model even predicts twice as many hurricanes.

The effects of more severe storms and droughts can be catastrophic for natural and cultural resources, for infrastructure like roads and bridges, and for people’s health, homes, and livelihoods.

This Week’s MYTH  Buster:  “Scientists don’t agree about climate change.”

According to a recent survey by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 97% of climate scientists agree that global climate change is occurring and that human activity is the primary cause.

I Will Make a Difference: by riding my bike or walking whenever I can.

More on the National Park Service and climate change:  http://www.nps.gov/subjects/climatechange/index.htm

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