Honolulu City and County officials said 2019 was the hottest year ever recorded but they are working on solutions, as they said temperatures will only continue to get hotter.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell along with other agencies said they went out on August 31 of last year to record the temperature in various parts of Oahu.
The heat map study found areas peaked above 100 degrees. In the Waimalu Plaza Shopping Center the heat index reached 107.3 degree, while areas of Ala Moana, Kahala, Hawai’i Kai, Waimanalo reached 105.
Caldwell said, “We have seen the hottest days on record in 2019 ever, we saw hot continuous days on record and the reason why we’re talking about this is we need to take action now.”
One of the actions they are taking is planting thousands of trees, in the heat map study they found greener areas stayed cooler.
The Executive Director of the Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency, Josh Standbro said it’s time to catch-up with the heat.
“When’s the best time to plant a tree? Well the best time was 20 years ago,” Standbro said. “The second best time is today and that’s the little one you see behind us because in one year, two years or a decade this tree is going to be contributing to that cooling effect.”
But it is not just land that is sizzling, the ocean is also seeing hotter temperatures. The Director of Honolulu’s Emergency Services Department, Jim Howe, said the shore hit 87 degrees last year.
Howe said, “As far as the ocean itself, what we start to see is impacts on the corals. Now this is not my area of expertise but we did hear and saw reported an awful lot about coral bleaching last year and how it does impact our fragile corals and our near shore waters here.”
In the meantime, Mayor Caldwell said the plan is to plant 100,000 trees within the next five years to mitigate the effects of climate change.