Hurricane swallows Hawaii island whole

Hawaiian Island erased by one of 2018's many Cat 5 storms

"The images appear to show alterations to Tern Island, and East Island appears to be under water".

East Island was just over four hectares but was important ecologically.

Clark, the NOAA superintendent for the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, which includes the French Frigate Shoals, said no one immediately realized the island had largely disappeared because it is so remote.

An entire Hawaiian island has vanished under the waves in the wake of Hurricane Walaka.

As it became known, a powerful storm hit on a Hawaiian island and literally washed it in the open ocean. The critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal used East Island to raise their young.

Total submergence of the land being confirmed is received from the satellite images.

Chip Fletcher, a climate scientist with the University of Hawaii who has been studying East Island's natural history, said it comprises loose sand and gravel rather than solid rock.

Due to the timing of the category 4 hurricane, most of the turtles are believed to have already left the island by the time the storm came around.

But it is possible that East Island will resurface and the turtles and seals will return to their seasonal homes.

"It's one more chink in the wall of the network of ecosystem diversity on this planet that is being dismantled".

East Island was part of French Frigate Shoals in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument and, according to the Honolulu Civil Beat, "a critical habitat for endangered Hawaiian monk seals and green sea turtles".

It was bout half a mile long and 400ft wide - the second largest in the French Frigate Shoals.

The powerful storm - one of the most intense hurricanes on record to strike the region - hit at the very end of the breeding season.

The vanishing of more islands in the near future is possible - though scientists can not say climate change causes hurricanes, scientific evidence shows that storms are stronger and wetter because of climate change.

Randy Kosaki, a senior official for the Hawaii monument at NOAA, said that the "take-home message" is that climate change is real, and it is happening right now.

Charles Littnan, the director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's protected species division, said that it'll probably take several years to determine the impact of the island's disappearance on these species' future.



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