Scientists knew East Island would someday be underwater, but they thought it wouldn’t happen until two decades from now. On Monday, however, researchers announced that the remote strip of land northwest of the Hawaiian Islands was now gone, erased into the ocean by Hurricane Walaka after it struck the atoll on October 2. Satellite images of the destruction courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service show just how powerful a tropical storm can be — and serve as a warning for the future.

Chip Fletcher, Ph.D., is a professor and associated dean at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. In July, he was on East Island Conducting research on the network of ecosystem diversity that once thrived there. When he examined satellite imagery four months later, he was astonished to see East Island gone.

Read More… Hurricane Walaka Erased a Chunk of Hawaii Right Off the Map

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