Sea Level on the Rise Due to Global Warming

Chip Fletcher
Chip Fletcher

MANOA (KHNL) -- Imagine, about a century from now, seeing most of Waikiki, our state's tourism mecca, underwater.

That's exactly what marine geologists project, if the we continue to experience global warming at its current rate.

Shades of former Vice President Al Gore's oscar-winning documentary, these are the dramatic computer renderings that illustrate how much of Waikiki will be underwater, if the ocean-level rises by one meter, or about 40 inches.

Global warming is clearly a factor.

''All this melting of ice that's taking place is contributing to the ocean," said Chip Fletcher. "That's about half of the amount of sea level rise that's taking place. The other half is due to warming of the ocean water."

And this is just the projection at Waikiki, along with urban Honolulu.

Clearly the entire chain, from Hilo to Hanalei, would experience similar watery results.

''I'm very optimistic that this does not need to got the status of a crisis."

University of Hawaii Marine Geologist, Chip Fletcher, is the driving force behind the research that has raised a few eyebrows and inspired last week's visual demonstration in Moiliili.

The painting of the so-called "blue line" is based on another one of Fletcher's computer models.

''We're decades away from this being a daily problem. We can start to think now of how we're going to meet sea level rise, head on, in a way that allows us to build sustainable communities, to be able to adapt to the changing world that's occuring, right now."

And despite the disturbing picture these graphics paint, Fletcher says, time is on our side.

But, we still need to act.

''Hopefully, everyone will realize the reality of the situation that's arriving on our doorstep in the next several decades and hopefully do something about it."

Fletcher explains there are proactive measure that can be taken.

Test wells could drilled into the ground to better predict whether a rise in the ocean level will create issues.

Roadways that are too close to the shoreline should be rerouted away from the ocean.

And Waikiki hotels could include rising sea-level countermeasures when undergoing renovations.