Hurricane Walaka in Pacific Ocean wiped Hawaii's East Island off map

Researchers confirmed East Island in the French Frigate Shoals received significant damage as a result of Hurricane Walaka — a powerful Category 4 storm — roaring over the islands

Hawaiian Island erased by one of 2018's many Cat 5 storms

While the hurricane spared the most populated big islands, East Island and neighboring Tern Island took a beating.

East Island was just over four hectares but was important ecologically.

A tiny Hawaiian island has vanished off the face of the Earth as Hurricane Walaka swept over the stretch of sand - and drowned it forever.

Rising sea levels are also eroding away low-lying islands, with several fragments of land in the Pacific vanishing in recent years.

Service of protection of fish resources and wildlife, the US released satellite photos of Hawaiian Islands before the storm "Balak" in the Pacific ocean and beyond.

The new images revealed the spit now nearly completely submerged. It was inhabited Hawaiian monk seals and green turtles, which shortly before the hurricane moved to the other Islands of the Hawaiian archipelago. Fletcher added that it's another issue "in the wall of the network of ecosystem diversity on this planet that is being dismantled".

If you go further north of those main islands, you'll get to the French Frigate Shoals, which is the largest atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

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According to the Honolulu Civil Beat, East Island was the nesting ground for 50% of the world's Hawaiian green sea turtles, and about one-seventh of the world's Hawaiian monk seals were born on the isle.

Researchers confirmed this week that East Island, a remote part of the Hawaiian chain, was washed off the map by Hurricane Walaka, one of the nine tropical cyclones worldwide to reach Category 5 strength in 2018.

Many of them raised their young on the island. Threatened green sea turtles and albatrosses also depended on East Island for survival.

On Facebook, Fletcher called the event a "silent tragedy" for the French Frigate Shoals and the marine life that nested there.

The scientists were in the middle of researching the island, using drones and sand samples to estimate how much longer it could survive due to climate change.

Randy Kosaki, a senior official for the Hawaii monument at NOAA, said that the "take-home message" is that climate change is real, and it is happening right now.

Charles Littnan, a conservation biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told Honolulu Civil Beat that "species are resilient to a point", and while they may find new breeding ground, "there could be a point in the future where that resilience isn't enough".

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