Thursday, June 20, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Monday, October 23, 2017
UH: Permafrost Discovered in Hawaii--Proves Global Warming is Real
By News Release @ 9:36 PM :: 5282 Views :: Environment

The Last Permafrost in Hawai'i

From Office of Mauna Kea Management, October 18, 2017

Hawai'i is known not only for its balmy weather and lush beaches, but also for its large variety of climate zones. In the coldest climate, on the tallest summits of Hawai'i, temperatures fall below freezing during winter nights. In 1969 an ingenious scientist, Alfred Woodcock (1905-2005), discovered areas inside cinder cones on Maunakea that are permanently frozen. At one place the ice was about 32 feet thick and 27 yard long, buried beneath about one foot of boulders.

This was the only permanent ice known in all of the Hawaiian Islands, and nearly half a century has passed since. Is it still there? Recently, a group of scientists and their students investigated the state and health of this unique permafrost, in a way that involves minimal disturbance to the environment. Because these ice-rich bodies lie buried beneath the surface, they are not easy to locate. After extensive temperature measurements and targeted geophysical surveys sponsored by the Office of Maunakea Management, the permafrost has been re-documented.

Some of the ice found by Woodcock inside Pu'uwēkiu Crater is still there, but most of it has disappeared. Its north-south extent, once 27 yards, is now 12 yards; its thickness, once 32 feet, is now 12 feet. The ice has retreated all around. If the trend between 1973 and 2015 is extrapolated, the remainder may disappear within a few years.

Three people stand inside Pu'uwēkiu Crater, marking the bottom and top end of a buried ice body documented in 1974. The shaded areas illustrate the extent then and now.

A much bigger body of ice was identified in a neighboring cinder cone crater, Pu'uhaukea, based on ground penetrating radar surveys and temperature sensors. This ice body is currently at least 50 yards wide and about 32 feet thick. No prior documentation is available to judge how much it has shrunk, but due to its larger volume, it will outlast the permafrost in Pu'uwēkiu.

The surprise is not that the ice is melting, but that it was ever there to begin with. It is found only in two well-shaded locations, but many other equally shaded locations on Maunakea have no permafrost. The age of the ice is also unknown. It could date back to the last ice age, many thousands of years ago, or merely a few centuries.

Either way, the old ice of Maunakea will be a victim of climate warming. We are witnessing the disappearance of the last permafrost in Hawaii.

The results of the permafrost survey were recently published in the journal Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ppp.1954/abstract

Forthcoming publications will address the climate processes that likely maintain this permafrost as part of this OMKM sponsored research.

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

Natatorium.org

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii