Skip to main content

Doubling of coastal erosion under rising sea level by mid-century in Hawaii

Abstract

Chronic erosion in Hawaii causes beach loss, damages homes and infrastructure, and endangers critical habitat. These problems will likely worsen with increased sea level rise (SLR). We forecast future coastal change by combining historical shoreline trends with projected accelerations in SLR (IPCC RCP8.5) using the Davidson-Arnott profile model. The resulting erosion hazard zones are overlain on aerial photos and other GIS layers to provide a tool for identifying assets exposed to future coastal erosion. We estimate rates and distances of shoreline change for ten study sites across the Hawaiian Islands. Excluding one beach (Kailua) historically dominated by accretion, approximately 92 and 96 % of the shorelines studied are projected to retreat by 2050 and 2100, respectively. Most projections (~80 %) range between 1–24 m of landward movement by 2050 (relative to 2005) and 4–60 m by 2100, except at Kailua which is projected to begin receding around 2050. Compared to projections based only on historical extrapolation, those that include accelerated SLR have an average 5.4 ± 0.4 m (±standard deviation of the average) of additional shoreline recession by 2050 and 18.7 ± 1.5 m of additional recession by 2100. Due to increasing SLR, the average shoreline recession by 2050 is nearly twice the historical extrapolation, and by 2100 it is nearly 2.5 times the historical extrapolation. Our approach accounts for accretion and long-term sediment processes (based on historical trends) in projecting future shoreline position. However, it does not incorporate potential future changes in nearshore hydrodynamics associated with accelerated SLR.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Fig. 12
Fig. 13

Notes

  1. 1.

    Cross-shore elevations of the beach were collected by University of Hawaii researchers using the same methods described in Gibbs et al. (2001). The University of Hawaii Coastal Geology Group provided the raw data.

References

  1. Anderson TR, Frazer LN (2014) Toward parsimony in shoreline change prediction (III): B-splines and noise handling. J Coast Res 30(4):729–742

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Anderson TR, Frazer LN, Fletcher CH (2014) Long-term shoreline change at Kailua, Hawaii using regularized single transect. J Coast Res. doi:10.2112/jcoastres-d-13-00202.1

    Google Scholar 

  3. Aucan JP (2006) Directional wave climatology for the Hawaiian Islands from buoy data and the influence of ENSO on extreme wave events from wave model hindcast. In: Proceedings of the 9th International Workshop on Wave Hindcasting and Forecasting (Victoria, British Columbia), JCOMM Technical Report 34/WMO-TD, 1368

  4. Aucan JP, Hoeke R, Merrifield M (2012) Wave-driven sea level anomalies at the Midway tide gauge as an index of North Pacific storminess over the past 60 years. Geophys Res Lett 39(17):L17603. doi:10.1029/2012GL052993

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Bauer BO, Allen JR (1995) Beach steps: an evolutionary prospective. Mar Geol 123(3–4):143–166

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Bayley GV, Hammersley JM (1946) The “effective” number of independent observations in an autocorrelated time series. Suppl J R Stat Soc 8(2):184–197

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Bochicchio C, Fletcher CH, Dyer M, Smith T (2009) Reef-top sediment bodies: Windward Oahu, Hawaii. Pac Sci 63(1):61–82

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Bodge KR, Sullivan S (1999) Hawaii pilot beach restoration project: coastal engineering investigation. State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Honolulu, pp 38–40

    Google Scholar 

  9. Bruun P (1962) Sea-level rise as a cause of shoreline erosion. J Waterw Harb Div Am Soc Civ Eng 88:117–130

    Google Scholar 

  10. Bruun P (1988) The Bruun Rule of erosion by sea level rise: a discussion on large-scale and two- and three-dimensional usages. J Coast Res 4(4):627–648

    Google Scholar 

  11. Caccamise DJ, Merrifield MA, Bevis M, Foster J, Firing Y, Schenewerk M, Taylor F, Thomas D (2005) Sea level rise at Honolulu and Hilo, Hawaii: GPS estimates of differential land motion. Geophys Res Lett 32:L03607. doi:10.1029/2004GL021380

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Calhoun RS, Fletcher CH (1996) Late Holocene coastal plain stratigraphy and sea level history at Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii Islands. Quat Res 45(1):47–58

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Cazenave A, Le Cozannet G (2013) Sea level rise and its coastal impacts. Earth Future 2(2):15–34. doi:10.1002/2013EF000188

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Church JA, White NJ (2011) Sea-level rise from the late 19th to the early 21st century. Surv Geophys 32(4–5):585–602

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Church JA, Clark PU, Cazenave A, Gregory JM, Jevrejeva S, Levermann A, Merrifield MA, Milne GA, Nerem RS, Nunn PD, Payne AJ, Pfeffer WT, Stammer D, Unnikrishnan AS (2013) Sea level change. In: Stocker TF, Qin D, Plattner G-K, Tignor M, Allen SK, Boschung J, Nauels A, Xia Y, Bex V, Midgley PM (eds) Climate change 2013: The physical science basis. Contribution of working group I to the fifth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York

    Google Scholar 

  16. Conger C (2005) Identification and characterization of sand deposit distribution on the fringing reefs of Oahu, Hawaii. Thesis, University of Hawaii at Manoa

  17. Cooper JAG, Pilkey OH (2004) Sea-level rise and shoreline retreat: time to abandon the Bruun Rule. Glob Planet Change 43:157–171

  18. Cowell PJ, Kench PS (2000) The morphological response of atoll islands to sea-level rise. Part 1: Modifications to the shoreface translation model. J Coast Res Special Issue 34, (ICS 2000, New Zealand), pp 633–644

  19. Cowell PJ, Roy PS, Jones RA (1995) Simulation of large-scale coastal change using a morphological behaviour model. Mar Geol 126(1–4):45–61

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Curtiss JH (1941) On the distribution of the quotient of two change variables. Ann Math Stat 12(4):409–421

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Dail HJ, Merrifield MA, Bevis M (2000) Steep beach morphology changes due to energetic wave forcing. Mar Geol 162(2–4):443–458

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Davidson-Arnott R (2005) Conceptual model of the effects of sea level rise on sandy coasts. J Coast Res 21(6):1166–1172

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Davison AC (2003) Statistical models. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p 726

    Book  Google Scholar 

  24. Dean RG (1991) Equilibrium beach profiles: characteristics and applications. J Coast Res 7(1):53–84

    Google Scholar 

  25. Dean RG, Maurmeyer EM (1983) Models for beach profile response. In: Komar PD (ed) CRC handbook of coastal processes and erosion. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 151–165

    Google Scholar 

  26. Douglas BC, Crowell M (2000) Long-term shoreline position prediction and error propagation. J Coast Res 16(1):145–152

    Google Scholar 

  27. EUROSION (2004) Living with coastal erosion in Europe: sediment and space for sustainability. Part III—Methodology for assessing regional indicators

  28. Everts CH (1985) Sea level rise effects. J Waterw Port Coast Ocean Eng 111(6):985–999

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Fenneman MM (1902) Development of the profile of equilibrium of the subaqueous shore terrace. J Geol 10(1):1–32

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Fitzgerald DM, Fenster MS, Argow BA, Buynevich IV (2008) Coastal impacts due to sea-level rise. Annu Rev Earth Planet Sci 36:601–647

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Fletcher CH, Jones AT (1996) Sea-level highstand recorded in Holocene shoreline deposits on Oahu, Hawaii. J Sediment Res 66(3):632–641

    Google Scholar 

  32. Fletcher CH, Rooney J, Barbee M, Lim S-C, Richmond B (2003) Mapping shoreline change using digital orthophotogrammetry on Maui, Hawaii. J Coast Res SI(38):106–124

    Google Scholar 

  33. Fletcher CH, Murray-Wallace CV, Glenn CR, Sherman CE, Popp B, Hessler A (2005) Age and origin of late Quaternary eolianite, Kaiehu Point (Moomomi), Molokai, Hawaii. J Coast Res SI(42):97–112

    Google Scholar 

  34. Fletcher CH, Bochicchio C, Conger CL, Engels MS, Feirstein EJ, Grossman EE, Grigg R, Harney JN, Rooney JJB, Sherman CE, Vitousek S, Rubin K, Murray-Wallace CV (2008) Geology of Hawaii reefs. In: Riegl BM, Dodge RE (eds) Coral reefs of the USA. Springer, New York, pp 435–488

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  35. Fletcher CH, Romine BM, Genz AS, Barbee MM, Dyer M, Anderson TR, Lim SC, Vitousek S, Bochicchio C, Richmond BM (2013) National assessment of shoreline change: historical shoreline change in the Hawaiian Islands. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011–1051

  36. Frazer LN, Genz AS, Fletcher CH (2009) Toward parsimony in shoreline change prediction (I): methods. J Coast Res 25(2):366–379

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Gibb JG (1995) Assessment of Coastal Hazard Zones for Northern Poverty Bay and Wainui Beach, Gisborne District. Report for the Gisborne District Council

  38. Gibbs AE, Richmond BM, Fletcher CH, Hillman KP (2001) Hawaii Beach Monitoring Program: Beach profile data. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 01-308

  39. Grady AE, Moore LJ, Storlazzi CD, Elias E, Reidenbach MA (2013) The influence of sea level rise and changes in fringing reef morphology on gradients in alongshore sediment transport. Geophys Res Lett 40(12):3096–3101

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Grossman EE, Fletcher CH (1998) Sea level higher than present 3500 years ago on the northern main Hawaiian Islands. Geology 26(4):363–366

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Grossman EE, Fletcher CH (2004) Holocene reef development where wave energy reduces accommodation space, Kailua, Bay, windward Oahu, Hawaii, USA. J Sediment Res 74(1):49–63

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Gutierrez BT, Plant NG, Thieler ER (2011) A Bayesian network to predict coastal vulnerability to sea level rise. J Geophys Res 116(F2):F02009. doi:10.1029/2010JF001891

    Google Scholar 

  43. Hallermeier RJ (1981) A profile zonation for seasonal sand beaches from wave climate. Coast Eng 4:253–277

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Hands EG (1979) Changes in rates of shore retreat, Lake Michigan, 1967–1976. Coastal Engineering Research Center Technical Memorandum No. 79-4

  45. Hands EB (1980) Prediction of shore retreat and nearshore profile adjustments to rising water levels on the Great Lakes. Coastal Engineering Research Center Technical Memorandum No. 80-7

  46. Hands EB (1983) The Great Lakes as a test model for profile response to sea level changes. In: Komar PD (ed) Handbook of coastal processes and erosion. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 167–189

    Google Scholar 

  47. Hanson H, Aarninkhof S, Capobianco M, Jimenez JA, Larson M, Nicholls RJ, Plant NG, Southgate HN, Steetzel HJ, Stive MJF, de Vriend HJ (2003) Modelling of coastal evolution on yearly to decadal time scales. J Coast Res 19(4):790–811

    Google Scholar 

  48. Hapke CJ, Himmelstoss EA, Kratzman MG, List JH, Thieler ER (2010) National assessment of shoreline change: Historical shoreline changes along the New England and Mid-Atlantic coasts. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010-1118

  49. Harney JN, Grossman EE, Richmond BM, Fletcher CH (2000) Age and composition of carbonate shoreface sediments, Kailua Bay, Oahu, Hawaii. Coral Reefs 19(2):141–154

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Helm V, Humbert A, Miller H (2014) Elevation and elevation change of Greenland and Antarctica derived from CryoSat-2. Cryosphere Discuss 8(2):1673–1721. doi:10.5194/tcd-8-1673-2014

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Hemer MA, Fan Y, Mori N, Semedo A, Wang XL (2013) Projected changes in wave climate from a multi-model ensemble. Nat Clim Change 3:471–476. doi:10.1038/nclimate1791

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Houston JR, Dean RG (2014) Shoreline change on the East Coast of Florida. J Coast Res 30(4):647–660

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Hwang DJ (1981) Beach changes on Oahu as revealed by aerial photographs, Honolulu, Hawaii: University of Hawaii, Hawaii Institute of Geophysics, Technical Report HIG-81-3, pp 66–75

  54. Hwang DJ (2005) Hawaii Coastal Hazard Mitigation Guidebook, Honolulu, Hawaii: University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program, Report UNIHI-SEAGRANT-BA-03-01

  55. Joughin I, Smith BE, Medley B (2014) Marine ice sheet collapse potentially underway for the Thwaites Glacier Basin, West Antarctica. Science 344(6185):735–738

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Katsman CA, Sterl A, Beersma JJ, van den Brink HW, Church JA, Hazeleger W, Kopp RE, Kroon D, Kwadijk J, Lammersen R, Lowe J, Oppenheimer M, Plag H-P, Ridley J, von Storch H, Vaughan DG, Vellinga P, Vermeersen LLA, van de Wal RSW, Weisse R (2011) Exploring high-end scenarios for local sea level rise to develop flood protection strategies for a low-lying delta—the Netherlands as an example. Clim Change 109(3–4):617–645

    Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Komar PD (1998) Beach processes and sedimentation, 2nd edn. Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River

    Google Scholar 

  58. Komar PD, McDougal WG, Marra JJ, Ruggiero P (1999) The rational analysis of setback distances: applications to the Oregon Coast. Shore and Beach 76(1):41–49

    Google Scholar 

  59. Kopp RE, Horton RM, Little CM, Mitrovica JX, Oppenheimer M, Rasmussen DJ, Strauss BH, Tebaldi C (2014) Probabilistic 21st and 22nd century sea-level projections at a global network of tide-gauge sites. Earth’s Future 2(8):383–406. doi:10.1002/2014EF000239

    Article  Google Scholar 

  60. List JH, Sallenger AH Jr, Hansen ME, Jaffe BE (1997) Accelerated relative sea-level rise and rapid coastal erosion: testing a causal relationship for the Louisiana barrier islands. Mar Geol 140(3–4):347–365

    Article  Google Scholar 

  61. Merrifield MA, Maltrud ME (2011) Regional sea level trends due to a Pacific trade wind intensification. Geophys Res Lett 38(21):L21605

    Article  Google Scholar 

  62. Mimura N, Nobuoka H (1995) Verification of the Bruun Rule for the estimate of shoreline retreat caused by sea-level rise. In: Dally ER, Zeidler RB (eds) Coastal dynamics 95. American Society of Civil Engineers, New York, pp 607–616

    Google Scholar 

  63. Moberly RM, Chamberlain T (1964) Hawaiian beach systems. Honolulu, Hawaii: University of Hawaii, Institute of Geophysics, Final Report HIG-64-2

  64. Moore JG (1970) Relationship between subsidence and volcanic load, Hawaii. Bull Volcanol 34(2):562–576

    Article  Google Scholar 

  65. Muñóz-Pérez JJ, Tejedor L, Medina R (1999) Equilibrium beach profile model for reef-protected beaches. J Coast Res 15(4):950–957

    Google Scholar 

  66. Norcross ZM, Fletcher CH, Merrifield M (2003a) Annual and interannual changes on a reef-fringed pocket beach: Kailua Bay, Hawaii. Mar Geol 190(3–4):553–580

    Google Scholar 

  67. Norcross Z, Fletcher CH, Rooney JJR, Eversole D, Miller TL (2003b) Hawaiian beaches dominated by longshore transport. In: Davis RA, Howd P, Sallenger A (eds) Proceedings of the international conference on coastal sediments 2003, Clearwater, Florida, 18–23 May 2003

  68. Péquignet A-CN, Becker J, Merrifield MA (2014) Energy transfer between wind waves and low-frequency oscillations on a fringing reef, Ipan, Guam. J Geophys Res Oceans 119(10):6709–6724

    Article  Google Scholar 

  69. Perry CT, Kench PS, Smithers SG, Riegl B, Yamano H, O’Leary MJ (2011) Implications of reef ecosystem change for the stability and maintenance of coral reef islands. Glob Change Biol 17(12):3679–3696

    Article  Google Scholar 

  70. Pilkey OH, Cooper JAG (2004) Society and sea level rise. Science 303(5665):1781–1782

    Article  Google Scholar 

  71. Pilkey OH, Young RS, Riggs SR, Sam Smith AW, Wu H, Pilkey W (1993) The concept of shoreface profile of equilibrium: a critical review. J Coast Res 9(1):255–278

    Google Scholar 

  72. Purdy E (1974) Karst-determined facies patterns in British Honduras: Holocene carbonate sedimentation model. Am As Pet Geol Bull 58(5):825–855

    Google Scholar 

  73. Ranasinghe R, Stive MJF (2009) Rising seas and retreating coastlines. Clim Change 97:465–468. doi:10.1007/s10584-009-9593-3

    Article  Google Scholar 

  74. Ranasinghe R, Callaghan D, Stive MJF (2011) Estimating coastal recession due to sea level rise: beyond the Bruun rule. Clim Change 110(3–4):561–574

    Google Scholar 

  75. Rignot E, Mouginot J, Morlighem M, Seroussi H, Scheuchi B (2014) Widespread rapid grounding line retreat of Pine Island, Thwaites, Smith, and Kohler glaciers, West Antarctica, from 1992 to 2011. Geophys Res Lett 41(10):3502–3509

    Article  Google Scholar 

  76. Romine BM, Fletcher CH (2013) A summary of historical shoreline changes on beaches of Kauai, Oahu, and Maui: Hawaii. J Coast Res 29(3):605–614

    Article  Google Scholar 

  77. Romine BM, Fletcher CH, Barbee MM, Anderson TR, Frazer LN (2013) Are beach erosion rates and sea level rise related in Hawaii? Glob Planet Change 108:149–157. doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2013.06.009

    Article  Google Scholar 

  78. Romine , BM, Fletcher CH, Frazer LN, Anderson TR. Antecedent geomorphology and shoreline change, northeast Oahu, Hawaii. J Geophys Res Earth Surf (in review)

  79. Rooney JJB, Fletcher CH (2005) Shoreline change and pacific climatic oscillations in Kihei, Maui, Hawaii. J Coast Res 21(3):535–547

    Article  Google Scholar 

  80. Rosati JD, Dean RG, Walton TL (2013) The modified Bruun Rule extended for landward transport. Mar Geol 340:71–78

    Article  Google Scholar 

  81. Schwartz ML (1967) The Bruun theory of sea-level rise as a cause of shore erosion. J Geol 75(1):76–92

    Article  Google Scholar 

  82. SCOR Working Group 89 (1991) The response of beaches to sea-level changes: a review of predictive models. J Coast Res 7(3):895–921

    Google Scholar 

  83. Sea Engineering (1988) Oahu Shoreline Study, Part 1, Data on Beach Changes. Honolulu, Hawaii. Report for the City and County of Honolulu Department of Land Utilization

  84. Shand T, Shand R, Reinen-Hamill R, Carley J, Cox R (2013) A review of shoreline response models to changes in sea level. In: Coasts and Ports 2013: 21st Australasian Coastal and Ocean Engineering conference and the 14th Australasian Port and Harbour conference (Sydney, Australia), pp 676–684

  85. Sheppard C, Dixon D, Gourlay M, Sheppard A, Payet R (2005) Coral mortality increases wave energy reaching shores protected by reef flats: examples from the Seychelles. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 64(2–3):223–234

    Article  Google Scholar 

  86. Stive MJF (2004) How important is global warming for coastal erosion? An editorial comment. Clim Change 64(1–2):27–39

    Article  Google Scholar 

  87. Stive MJF, Aarninkhof SGJ, Hamm L, Hanson H, Larson M, Wijnberg KM, Nicholls RJ, Capobianco M (2002) Variability of shore and shoreline evolution. Coast Eng 47(2):211–235

    Article  Google Scholar 

  88. Storlazzi CD, Elias E, Field ME, Presto MK (2011) Numerical modeling of the impact of sea-level rise on fringing coral reef hydrodynamics and sediment transport. Coral Reefs 30(1 Supplement):83–96

    Article  Google Scholar 

  89. Thieler ER, Pilkey OH Jr, Young RS, Bush DM, Chai F (2000) The use of mathematical models to predict beach behavior for US coastal engineering: a critical review. J Coast Res 16(1):48–70

    Google Scholar 

  90. Vitousek S, Fletcher CH (2008) Maximum annually recurring wave heights in Hawaii. Pac Sci 62(4):541–553

    Article  Google Scholar 

  91. Wang XL, Feng Y, Swail VR (2014) Changes in global ocean wave heights as projected using multimodel CMIP5 simulations. Geophys Res Lett 41:1026–1034. doi:10.1002/2013GL058650

    Article  Google Scholar 

  92. Yates ML, Le Cozannet G (2012) Brief communication “Evaluating European coastal evolution using Bayesian networks”. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci 12(4):1173–1177

    Article  Google Scholar 

  93. Yates ML, Le Cozannet G, Lenotre N (2011) Quantifying errors in long-term coastal erosion and inundation hazard assessments. In: Proceedings of the 11th international coastal symposium (Szczecin, Poland), pp 260–264

  94. Zhang K, Douglas BC, Leatherman SP (2004) Global warming and coastal erosion. Clim Change 64(1–2):41–58

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

We thank Sam Lemmo of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands (OCCL) for help in determining the needs of Hawaii’s planning community. Funding for this study was provided by the Hawaii DLNR and the Department of Interior Pacific Islands Climate Science Center. This study was funded by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Department of Interior Pacific Islands Climate Science Center.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Tiffany R. Anderson.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Online Supplementary Material:

The online supplement is a text document that includes Tables S1 to S4 (PDF 109 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Anderson, T.R., Fletcher, C.H., Barbee, M.M. et al. Doubling of coastal erosion under rising sea level by mid-century in Hawaii. Nat Hazards 78, 75–103 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-015-1698-6

Download citation

Keywords

  • Sea level rise
  • Erosion
  • Hawaii
  • Reef
  • Shoreline