November 2018
Credit: Volker Roeber
As the climate changes over the coming decades, the northward shift of hurricanes toward the Hawaiian Islands will increase the chance of landfall and pose severe flood risks to populations and infrastructure along the coast and further inland, according to a recent study led by researchers in the SOEST Department of Ocean and Resources Engineering. Tropical cyclones are usually weakened or deflected to the south when approaching the Hawaiian Islands, due to the high-pressure system to the northeast, strong wind shear, and relatively low sea-surface temperature in surrounding waters. This study, however, indicates that those conditions are unlikely to be prevalent toward the end of the century.
NOAA permit 19703
The effects of climate change, human activities, and prey availability on whales and dolphins are new areas of focus for the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) Marine Mammal Research Program (MMRP). Using non-invasive technology, such as drones and suction-cup tags, MMRP has already collected breathtaking footage and data on pods of humpback and gray whales at sea. MMRP had traditionally been focused on acoustics-oriented research. Under new MMRP director Lars Bejder, the research focus is expanding to include broader themes, many of which support conservation and management objectives. The overall mission of the program is the conservation of marine mammals.
Credit NOAA
Credit: NOAA
A new study published in Nature Climate Change provides one of the most comprehensive assessments yet of how humanity is being impacted by the simultaneous occurrence of multiple climate hazards. An analysis of thousands of peer-reviewed scientific papers revealed 467 ways in which human health, food, water, economy, infrastructure and security have been impacted by multiple climatic changes, including warming, drought, heat waves, wildfires, precipitation, floods, storms, sea level rise and changes in land cover and ocean chemistry. This research, co-authored by several scientists at SOEST, revealed that society faces a much larger threat from climate change than previous studies have suggested.
Credit: Alana Eagle
A $1 million grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will allow researchers at the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) to continue the work of the late Ruth Gates to develop 'super coral' to withstand ocean water that is becoming warmer and more acidic, conditions which typically lead to coral bleaching and leave them vulnerable to massive die-offs. "It gives us a lot of optimism moving forward," Kira Hughes, project manager at the Gates Coral Lab in Kaneohe Bay, said. "She really laid out where she wanted the research to go, so that makes it really easy for us to follow her vision."
Long-term observations of surface temperatures show intensified surface warming in Canada, Siberia, Alaska and in the Arctic Ocean relative to global mean temperature rise. A new study on the cause of 'Arctic amplification', published in Nature Climate Change, showed that local greenhouse gas concentrations and Arctic climate feedbacks outweigh other processes. Using computer simulations, scientists, including several from the SOEST Department of Atmospheric Sciences, were able to disprove previously suggested hypotheses that emphasized the role of transport of heat from the tropics to the poles as one of the key contributors to the amplified warming in the Arctic.
The Hawai'i Sea Grant College Program has launched a new online story map to use the power of the picture to help tell the story of this 50-year-old program. A story map links geographical information with other narrative and photographic material in an interactive, visually captivating manner. Hawaiʻi Sea Grant's story map presents descriptions of extension work in communities throughout the Hawaiian Islands and across the Pacific Basin, highlights of long-term community partnerships and accomplishments, and summaries of groundbreaking past and present scientific research. Visit the story map to discover more about Hawaiʻi Sea Grant's many efforts.
Andrew Kecskes Tokuda, a junior in the SOEST Global Environmental Science program, was named national winner of the 2018 Great Minds in STEM Military Cadet Role Model Award, beating out hundreds of ROTC cadets throughout the country. The award recognizes academic excellence, scientific promise, athletic prowess and community service. "Andrew has endless curiosity, energy and ambition," said oceanographer Jeffrey C. Drazen, who leads the SOEST Deep Sea Fish Ecology Lab where Tokuda works. "He wants to learn about and do everything when it comes to deep-sea research. He is a very smart young man who is taking all the opportunities he can and is turning them into gold."
Credit: Nancy Borilez, Kapaa HS
Two oceanography graduate students, Kelly Pearson and Amanda Ziegler, visited three high schools on Kauai this month to share their research and hands-on activities. Nearly 300 students at Waimea, Kauai, and Kapa'a High Schools learned about ocean motion, currents and circulation, deep-sea biology, and technology used to explore the vast ocean. After the presentation, one student asked "Wow, you can really study this at the University of Hawai'i?" And another student exclaimed, "I didn't know anything lived down there!" Pearson's and Ziegler's travels were funded by the National Weather Service Pacific Region Fellowship and the Department of Oceanography.
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