Friday | December 15, 2017
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Higher than normal tides could continue

Hawaii is seeing unusually high tides that could continue through the summer.

Phil Thompson, associate director of the University of Hawaii Sea Level Center, said high tides are about 10 to 20 centimeters above normal, a trend that started following the end of El Nino.

Causes could include “thickening” in the upper ocean in the central Pacific due to certain wind patterns.

“There is more warm water in and around Hawaii,” Thompson said. “That causes sea levels to be a little higher.”

He said there have been a “couple periods” of this in the last year and a half.

Global warming might not be a direct cause, though higher sea levels would exacerbate these type of events, Thompson said.

“As sea levels rise you’ll get more of these big events,” he said.

In the past 10-20 years, Hawaii has seen sea levels rise about 3 millimeters a year, Thompson said.

He said that’s about the global average. That rate is expected to increase as climate change continues.


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