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Strong evidence on climate change underscores the need for actions to reduce the impacts of sea-level rise. Global mean sea level may rise 0.18–0.48 m by mid-century1, 2 and 0.5–1.4 m by the end of the century2. Besides marine inundation, it is largely unrecognized that low-lying coastal areas may also be vulnerable to groundwater inundation, which is localized coastal-plain flooding due to a rise of the groundwater table with sea level. Measurements of the coastal groundwater elevation and tidal influence in urban Honolulu, Hawaii, allow estimates of the mean water table, which was used to assess vulnerability to groundwater inundation from sea-level rise. We find that 0.6 m of potential sea-level rise causes substantial...
The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model has been configured as a regional climate model for the Hawaii region (HRCM) to assess the uncertainties associated with the pseudo–global warming (PGW) downscaling method using different warming increments from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) model experiments. Results from 15-km downscaling experiments using warming increments from 10 individual CMIP5 models for the two warming scenarios representative concentration pathway 4.5 (RCP4.5) and 8.5 (RCP8.5) are compared with experiments using multimodel mean warming increments. The results show that changes in 2-m temperatures, 10-m wind speed, rainfall, water vapor path, and trade wind...
Although climate change is predicted to place mountain-top and other narrowly endemic species at severe risk of extinction, the ecological processes involved in such extinctions are still poorly resolved. In addition, much of this biodiversity loss will likely go unobserved, and therefore largely unappreciated. The Haleakalā silversword is restricted to a single volcano summit in Hawai‘i, but is a highly charismatic giant rosette plant that is viewed by 1–2 million visitors annually. We link detailed local climate data to a lengthy demographic record, and combine both with a population-wide assessment of recent plant mortality and recruitment, to show that after decades of strong recovery following successful management,...
Sea-level rise (SLR) threatens islands and coastal communities due to vulnerable infrastructure and populations concentrated in low-lying areas. LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data were used to produce high-resolution DEMs (Digital Elevation Model) for Kahului and Lahaina, Maui, to assess the potential impacts of future SLR. Two existing LiDAR datasets from USACE (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) were compared and calibrated using the Kahului Harbor tide station. Using tidal benchmarks is a valuable approach for referencing LiDAR in areas lacking an established vertical datum, such as in Hawai‘i and other Pacific Islands. Exploratory analysis of the USACE...
Transmission of avian malaria in the Hawaiian Islands varies across altitudinal gradients and is greatest at elevations below 1500 m where both temperature and moisture are favorable for the sole mosquito vector, Culex quinquefasciatus, and extrinsic sporogonic development of the parasite, Plasmodium relictum. Potential consequences of global warming on this system have been recognized for over a decade with concerns that increases in mean temperatures could lead to expansion of malaria into habitats where cool temperatures currently limit transmission to highly susceptible endemic forest birds. Recent declines in two endangered species on the island of Kaua’i, the ‘Akikiki (Oreomystis bairdi) and ‘Akeke’e (Loxops...
Hawaiian forest birds serve as an ideal group to explore the extent of climate change impacts on at-risk species. Avian malaria constrains many remaining Hawaiian forest bird species to high elevations where temperatures are too cool for malaria’s life cycle and its principal mosquito vector. The impact of climate change on Hawaiian forest birds has been a recent focus of Hawaiian conservation biology, and has centered on the links between climate and avian malaria. To elucidate the differential impacts of projected climate shifts on species with known varying niches, disease resistance and tolerance, we use a comprehensive database of species sightings, regional climate projections and ensemble distribution models...
The steep mountain slopes of Haleakalā Volcano (Maui, HI) support some of the most spatially diverse environments on the planet. Microclimates found across vertical gradients on the mountain slopes can change over relatively short differences in slope exposure and elevation and are strongly influenced by a persistent temperature inversion and northeast trade winds that are characteristic of this region. Eleven climate stations, which comprise the HaleNet climate network, have been monitoring climatic conditions along a 2030-m leeward (960 to 2990 m) and a 810-m windward (1650 to 2460 m) elevational transect, beginning as early as June of 1988. Hourly measurements of solar radiation, net radiation, relative humidity,...
Categories: Data, Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Journal, Publication, completed
Publication titled “​Statistical downscaling of rainfall changes in Hawai‘i based on the CMIP5 global model projections”
Climate change is anticipated to affect freshwater resources, but baseline data on the functioning of tropical watersheds is lacking, limiting efforts that seek to predict how watershed processes, water supply, and streamflow respond to anticipated changes in climate and vegetation change, and to management. To address this data gap, we applied the distributed hydrology soil vegetation model (DHSVM) across 88 watersheds spanning a highly constrained, 4500 mm mean annual rainfall (MAR) gradient on Hawai‘i Island to quantify stream flow at 3-h time-steps for eight years in response to the independent and interactive effects of (1) large observed decrease in MAR; (2) projected warming and altered precipitation; and...
Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the concentration of atmospheric CO2 has been rising due to the burning of fossil fuels. increased absorption of this CO2 by the oceans is lowering the seawater pH and aragonite saturation state (Ωar). This process is known as ocean acidification (OA). numerous studies have shown a direct correlation between declining ocean pH, declining Ωar, and declining coral growth, but the mechanism is not understood. Various experiments designed to evaluate the relative importance of pH, CO3 2–, Ωar, HCO3 –, aqueous CO2, total alkalinity, and total inorganic carbon (Ct) to coral calcification have led to opposing conclusions. A reanalysis of existing data suggests that the...
For many species the threats of climate change occur in a context of multiple existing threats. Given the current focus of global change ecology in identifying and understanding species vulnerable to climate change, we performed a global analysis to characterize the multi-threat context for species threatened by climate change. Utilizing 30,053 species from the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, we sought to evaluate if species threatened by climate change are more likely threatened by a greater number of non-climatic threats than species not threatened by climate change. Our results show that species threatened by climate change are generally impacted by 21%...
Montane plant communities throughout the world have responded to changes in precipitation and temperature regimes by shifting ranges upward in elevation. Continued warmer, drier climate conditions have been documented and are projected to increase in high-elevation areas in Hawai‘i, consistent with climate change effects reported in other environments throughout the world. Organisms that cannot disperse or adapt biologically to projected climate scenarios in situ may decrease in distributional range and abundance over time. Restoration efforts will need to accommodate future climate change and account for the interactive effects of existing invasive species to ensure long-term persistence. As part of a larger, ongoing...
Determination of carbon isotope (δ13C) values of tree-ring tissue is a well-established method to reconstruct past climate variability at annual resolution, but such records are limited in tropical latitudes due to the lack of well-defined annual growth bands. Recent work has demonstrated the potential for high-resolution, intra-ring δ13C records to help define ring boundaries in tropical environments and provide additional climate information at sub-annual resolution. Here we present a high-resolution, intra-ring carbon isotope (δ13C) record of the Hawaiian endemic species Sophora chrysophylla(also known as “māmane”) in order to assess the ability to extract seasonal climate information from these drought tolerant...
Global sea-level rise (SLR) is projected to accelerate over the next century, with research indicating that global mean sea level may rise 18–48 cm by 2050, and 50–140 cm by 2100. Decision-makers, faced with the problem of adapting to SLR, utilize elevation data to identify assets that are vulnerable to inundation. This paper reviews techniques and challenges stemming from the use of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) digital elevation models (DEMs) in support of SLR decision-making. A significant shortcoming in the methodology is the lack of comprehensive standards for estimating LiDAR error, which causes inconsistent and sometimes misleading calculations of uncertainty. Workers typically aim to reduce uncertainty...
Hawaiian forest birds are imperiled, with fewer than half the original >40 species remaining extant. Recent studies document ongoing rapid population decline and project complete climate‐based range losses for the critically endangered Kaua’i endemics ‘akeke’e (Loxops caeruleirostris) and ‘akikiki (Oreomystis bairdi) by end‐of‐century due to projected warming. Climate change facilitates the upward expansion of avian malaria into native high elevation forests where disease was historically absent. While intensified conservation efforts attempt to safeguard these species and their habitats, the magnitude of potential loss and the urgency of this situation require all conservation options to be seriously considered....
As the impacts of global climate change on species are increasingly evident, there is a clear need to adapt conservation efforts worldwide. Species vulnerability assessments (VAs) are increasingly used to summarize all relevant information to determine a species’ potential vulnerability to climate change and are frequently the first step in informing climate adaptation efforts. VAs commonly integrate multiple sources of information by utilizing a framework that distinguishes factors relevant to species exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity. However, this framework was originally developed for human systems, and its use to evaluate species vulnerability has serious practical and theoretical limitations. By...
A comparison of the equations for photosynthesis and calcification in reef corals suggests that the two processes compete for available inorganic carbon; yet reef corals exhibit simultaneous high rates of photosynthesis and calcification during daylight hours. Also, the extreme metabolic activity observed in corals at high irradiance requires a large net efflux of protons at sites of rapid calcification and respiration. Corals have resolved these problems through development of morphologies that separate the zone of rapid calcification (ZC) from the zone of rapid photosynthesis (ZP), with the fixed-carbon energy supply from the ZP being rapidly translocated to the ZC. Translocation of photosynthate from the ZP serves...
Estimates of clear sky global solar irradiance using the parametric model SPCTRAL2 were tested against clear sky radiation observations at four sites in Hawai‘i using daily, mean monthly, and 1 year mean model parameter settings. Atmospheric parameters in SPCTRAL2 and similar models are usually set at site-specific values and are not varied to represent the effects of fluctuating humidity, aerosol amount and type, or ozone concentration, because time-dependent atmospheric parameter estimates are not available at most sites of interest. In this study, we sought to determine the added value of using time dependent as opposed to fixed model input parameter settings. At the AERONET site, Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO)...
The highest mountain peaks on Hawaii Island are snow covered for part of almost every year. This snow has aesthetic and recreational value as well as cultural significance for residents and visitors. Thus far there have been almost no systematic observations of snowfall, snow cover, or snow depth in Hawaii. Here we use satellite observations to construct a daily index of Hawaii Island snow cover starting from 2000. The seasonal mean of our index displays large interannual variations that are correlated with the seasonal mean freezing level and frequency of trade wind inversions as determined from nearby balloon soundings. Our snow cover index provides a diagnostic for monitoring climate variability and trends within...
Projections of climate change impacts on coral reefs produced at the coarse resolution (~1°) of Global Climate Models (GCMs) have informed debate but have not helped target local management actions. Here, projections of the onset of annual coral bleaching conditions in the Caribbean under Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5 are produced using an ensemble of 33 Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase-5 models and via dynamical and statistical downscaling. A high-resolution (~11 km) regional ocean model (MOM4.1) is used for the dynamical downscaling. For statistical downscaling, sea surface temperature (SST) means and annual cycles in all the GCMs are replaced with observed data from the ~4-km NOAA...