KANEOHE, Hawaii (KHON2) — A State climatologist says things are heating up; Warmer oceans around the Islands have led to almost a 27% increase in tropical cyclones since 2002, according to Dr. Pao-Shin Chu.
Dr. Chu said another issue is homes on the water will see an increasing risk of erosion.
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Some homes on the North Shore of Oahu have already seen that risk come to life.
“So I think this part is pretty much certain that we have sea level rise, then we have more coastal erosion,” Dr. Chu said. “Particularly, you know, most people here just live along the coast, we’re a small island.”
KHON2 took a boat ride over to the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology to learn more about coral bleaching; another problem caused by warmer oceans.
“That usually happens when there’s a change in sea surface temperature and climate change is actually one of the main threats to coral reefs today,” HIMB Coral Resilience Lab research assistant Tahirih Perez said.
Perez said healthy coral should not have any discoloration and showed an example of a fragment that was not bleached. Her second example was a bleached coral fragment, but Perez said it could still recover if the ocean conditions around it improved. Her last example was a dead coral fragment; Perez said the algae that covered it from top to bottom was an indicator that the fragment could not be saved.
Changes in the environment can seem out of human hands but individuals can make a difference. A popular project at the Ala Wai Canal is ongoing to clean out the sludge with something called Genki Balls by releasing good microbes into the water.
KHON2 spoke with Christina Laney Mitre, an organizer of the Genki Ball project and president of Eco Rotary Club of Kaka’ako. The Club is holding “Ridge to Reef” cleanups at beaches, parks and more across Hawaii on Saturday, April 23. Click here to visit their website or click here to visit their Facebook page.
“It has some other things and dirt and soil, right? Clean soil,” Laney Mitre said. “That bad smell, a lot of the bacteria and the things that are growing that’s not good for us, gets eaten up!”
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Experts are still looking into the effectiveness of Genki Balls for future projects.