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Study projects earlier sea-level rise threat to islands

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Midway Atoll is likely to face serious flooding problems as sea level rises. Photo courtesy NASA.

Dynamic modeling suggests serious flooding threats much sooner than thought

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Low-lying islands may be facing more global warming trouble than previously thought.

New modeling that includes storm wind and wave action shows some islands could face regular inundation within the next few decades as sea level rises.

Even if the islands are not permanently submerged, ocean flooding is likely contaminate freshwater supplies, damage agriculture and infrastructure and threaten important bird, sea turtle and marine mammal habitat. Continue reading

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Biodiversity: 62-year old bird continues to astound

‘A sign of hope’ for the species

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Wisdom and her mate guard their nest at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Photo courtesy USGS via the Creative Commons.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Along with logging about 50,000 miles in the air each year, the world’s oldest known albatross this year hatched another chick at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge.

Wisdom, a Laysan albatross believed to be at least 62, has now reared offspring for six years in a row — “a sign of hope” for the species, according to Doug Staller, superintendent for the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, which includes the Midway Atoll NWR.

Wisdom has worn out five bird bands since she was first banded by U.S. Geological Survey scientist Chandler Robbins in 1956. Robbins estimated Wisdom to be at least 5 years old at the time, since this is the earliest age at which these birds breed. Typically, they breed at 8 or 9 years of age after a very involved courtship lasting over several years so Wisdom could be even older than 62. Continue reading

Global warming: Sea level rise threatens Hawaii biodiversity

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Pelagic birds do need a bit of land, and some nesting areas in Hawaii may be threatened. Bob Berwyn photo.

USGS study says sea bird rookery in outlying Hawaiian Islands at risk

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Sea level rise could threaten the breeding areas of numerous sea bird breeding areas in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study that analyzed the combined effects sea-level rise and wave action.

Most climate change models predict a 1-meter rise in global sea level by 2100, with larger increases possible in parts of the Pacific Ocean. Those rising sea levels may inundate low-lying islands across the globe, placing island biodiversity at risk. Continue reading

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