School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology
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Large fresh water supply discovered on Hawai‘i Island

In March 2013, researchers from UH Mānoa and UH Hilo began drilling at 6400 feet above sea level in the saddle region between the mountains of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. HIGP faculty member Donald Thomas is leading the effort. What they discovered seven months later may radically change conventional wisdom regarding the state’s most valuable resource: fresh water. Click on the image or title to watch the UH video report.

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SOEST in the News

Photo of 3d printed spectrometer 3D printing an open source spectrometer

Ben Hickman of the Dept of Oceanography wanted to develop an affordable spectrometer. Normally extremely expensive, spectrometers provide a way to map and monitor water chemistry. With price tags ranging from the high $1000s to the $100,000s, this type of very basic science instrument is far out of the reach of most high schools and colleges for entry-level lab classes. This is where 3D printing and Brian Chee, an IT Specialist for SOEST, came to the rescue. After overcoming a steep learning curve in both optics and 3D printing, a working spectrometer was developed; with a goal of producing a device for about $100, it can be accessible to a wider range of schools and institutions worldwide… and even individual students.

Read more about in Image courtesy of B. Chee; click on it to see the full image.

Beach erosion image Coastal erosion predicted to double by 2050s in Hawai‘i

A report in the journal Natural Hazards by scientists at SOEST and the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) brings into clearer focus just how dramatically Hawai‘i beaches might change as sea level rises in the future. Chronic erosion dominates the sandy beaches of Hawai‘i, causing beach loss as it damages homes, infrastructure, and critical habitat. “When we modeled future shoreline change with the increased rates of sea level rise (SLR) projected under the IPCC’s ‘business as usual’ scenario, we found that increased SLR contributes to an average 36–40 ft of shoreline retreat by 2050, and an average of nearly 100 ft of retreat by 2100, except at Kailua, O‘ahu, which is projected to begin retreating by mid-century,” said Tiffany Anderson, lead author and post-doctoral researcher.

Read more about it and watch the videos, including interviews with Tiffany Anderson and co-author Chip Fletcher, coastal geologist and SOEST’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, at KITV (autoplays) and Hawaii News Now; read about it in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (subscription required), KHON2 here and here, SFGate, Huffington Post, UH System News, and EurekAlert!. Image courtesy of C. Fletcher; click on it to see the full version.

Photo of Halemaumau Vog returns, survey nears completion

When it comes to impacts from the volcanic gases and particles emanating from the active eruption at Kīlauea volcano, the windward side of the island usually gets off easy. The regular trade winds from the northeast typically blow the sulfur dioxide and other particulates from the vent at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō out to sea or toward Kona. But when those winds die down, the vog can accumulate, creating a thick haze that creates bothersome conditions for many people, and that’s what is happening this week in East Hawai‘i. The Vog Measurement and Prediction Project (VMAP) uses a computer model, paired with weather forecast models, to attempt to predict where vog will go.

Read more about it in the West Hawaii Today. Image courtesy of M. Zinkova.

Please visit SOEST in the News: 2015 for archived news articles, with links to previous years.

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