According to several media outlets, two of Oahu's most popular beaches are experiencing erosion at unprecedented levels.
According to the Huffington Post, Kuhio Beach in Waikiki and Sunset Beach on Oahu's North Shore are more than 40 miles apart, but the growing winter swells and extreme tides have caused rapidly shifting sands in both spots.
At Kuhio Beach, an old concrete wall along the shoreline resurfaced seemingly overnight. According to the report, "It poses a safety risk to tourists who walk, swim and learn to surf at the spot. Experts told the city that tidal bulge -- or higher than normal high tides -- was causing the rapid erosion, and the city has since decided to wait until the bulge is over to try replenishing efforts again."
According to Hawaii News Now, a new study by the University of Hawaii shows the state is on pace to lose 100 feet of beach in the coming decades and Maui is most at risk. Kailua Beach has been fighting erosion for years but now a new study finds that Maui beaches are disappearing even faster.
Researchers with School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) studied 100 years of data for both Maui and Oahu. They found global warming is causing the sea level to rise which in turn is causing beaches to erode. In the next 25 to 30 years the prediction is Hawaii shores could lose 100 feet of beach, according to the Hawaii News Now report.
Over on Oahu's North Shore, the shifting sands are causing problems for several homeowners. As the northeast swells gain momentum and power, a handful of houses are seeing years of erosion in a matter of days. Backyards, staircases, and even a swimming pool have been swept away in the past weeks.
According to a September report by LiveScience, a team of scientists found that the effects of wave activity and sand availability were comparable on both the islands of Oahu and Maui, but that the average rate of sea level rise was 65 percent higher on Maui than on Oahu. This key difference, they say, suggests that sea level rise is the main driver of erosion on these two islands on a regional scale.
The findings, which appeared in the journal Global and Planetary Change in September, also show that Maui's sea level rise surpasses Oahu's for several reasons, including Maui's close proximity to the actively volcanic Big Island of Hawaii, which is currently growing and dragging neighboring islands down into the crust as it sinks under its own weight.
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