National Geographic

@natgeo 1 year ago

Photos by @FransLanting | “A storm came and an island went.” East Island was tiny, but for sea turtles in Hawaii it was the center of their universe. Now the island is gone, wiped out by Hurricane Walaka. East Island was one of the Hawaiian Leeward Islands, an archipelago of atolls that stretches for a thousand miles in the Central Pacific. Even though they are mere feet above sea level, they are home to millions of seabirds and to endangered green sea turtles and Hawaiian monk seals. All of them are now threatened by the extreme weather episodes and the sea level rise caused by climate change. The aerial view in this set of photos shows Tern Island in the French Frigate Shoals. It has an airstrip built in World War II to serve military planes. After the war researchers were able to use the island as a base, but now the island has been abandoned and its future is doubtful. It may be the next island in the region to disappear. It's unclear where the millions of creatures who depend on these fragile islands can go when the islands become submerged. Follow us @FransLanting and @ChristineEckstrom for more stories about our changing planet. @LeonardodiCaprio @LeonardodiCapriofdn @ThePhotoSociety @NatGeoTravel @NatGeoWild #Hawaii #Seaturtle #Endangered #Climatechange #Climatereality #Sealevelrise