$4.26 Million to Improve Hawai‘i Monitoring of Rising Sea Levels, Extreme Weather Events

July 13, 2020, 8:05 AM HST · Updated July 13, 8:05 AM
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Sandbag barrier in Kahana where condominium properties are threatened by erosion and high waves. File image 2017 Credit: Tara Owens via PacIOOS.

Today, US Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) announced that the University of Hawai‘i’s Pacific Island Ocean Observing System or PacIOOS will receive more than $4.2 million in federal funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The funds will be used to deploy more ocean sensors to observe and monitor sea levels, tides, currents, waves, and temperatures. The data collected is aimed at improving forecasts of severe weather events—like king tides and hurricanes.

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Sen. Schatz said the data is compiled so that families, businesses, and communities can make resilience plans to stay safe and protect their livelihoods in the face of the changing climate.

The new NOAA funding will be used to upgrade existing ocean observing and modeling capacity in Hawai‘i and the US Insular Pacific over the next five years. The data collected is freely available to all—including elected officials, university researchers and the private sector.

By providing this data, PacIOOS aims to support science-based decision-making to ensure a safe, clean, and productive ocean and resilient coastal zone for the US Pacific Islands. As part of that effort, a portion of the federal funds will be used for public education and outreach.

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