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Schatz: More Than $4.2 Million In New Funding Will Improve Hawai‘i’s Capacity To Protect Coastal Communities By Monitoring Rising Sea Levels, Extreme Weather Events

HONOLULU – Today, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) announced that the University of Hawai‘i's Pacific Island Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) will receive $4,260,603 in federal funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to deploy more ocean sensors to observe and monitor sea levels, tides, currents, waves, and temperatures. The data collected will improve forecasts of severe weather events—like king tides and hurricanes—so that families, businesses, and communities can make resilience plans to stay safe and protect their livelihoods in the face of the changing climate.

“As an island state, we’re already fighting rapid sea level rise,” said Senator Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “By improving our ability to track sea levels and forecast extreme weather events, we can better protect our coastal communities from these climate change impacts."

The new NOAA funding will be used to upgrade existing ocean observing and modeling capacity in Hawai‘i and the U.S. Insular Pacific over the next five years. The data collected is freely available to all—including elected officials, university researchers, and the private sector.

By providing this data, PacIOOS aims to support science-based decision-making to ensure a safe, clean, and productive ocean and resilient coastal zone for the U.S. Pacific Islands. As part of that effort, a portion of the federal funds will be used for public education and outreach.