Oct 21, 2019

A New Marine Heat Wave Threatens Hawaii’s Reefs

Milolii, HI
Hawaii
USA
by
Kendra Pierre-Louis
,
The New York Times
The white parts of the coral are bleached; the patchy brown bits have recently died and are just beginning to get covered in an algal fuzz. Credit: Shreya Yadav, J. Madin Lab/Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology at the University of Hawaii
The white parts of the coral are bleached; the patchy brown bits have recently died and are just beginning to get covered in an algal fuzz. Credit: Shreya Yadav, J. Madin Lab/Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology at the University of Hawaii

The ocean off of the Pacific Coast is simmering, threatening coral reefs and livelihoods around Hawaii, and causing many to worry of worse to come.

“The ocean is very important to us,” said Ka’imi Kaupiko, who lives in Milolii, a community often called the last Hawaiian fishing village, on the Big Island. The way of life there depends on the fish provided by the reefs, reefs which are now becoming sick in the warming waters.

“It affects a lot of how we are going to survive,” Mr. Kaupiko said.

Researchers said the heat wave was reminiscent of 2014, when a hot spot that became known as the blob began forming in the Pacific. It expanded and lingered over much of the Pacific Coast from Mexico to Alaska for years.

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Researchers say they think that climate change strongly influenced the original blob’s creation.