More than $ 835 million ($ 241 billion) of flooding is provided annually by coral reefs off Hawaii’s coast – a new US study found.
The research was conducted by the American Geological Research Institute, Nature Convervancy, a global conservation organization and the University of California (Santa Cruz). The research team, together with engineers and the insurance industry, have developed models to determine the value of flood defenses at the shore of the Hawaiian islands of about 3200 kilometers.
“People mostly have no idea how valuable the coral reefs are in shelter,” said Michael Beck, professor at the University of California, co-author of the study.
Coral reefs act as an underwater wreck, absorbing 97 percent of the waves reaching the shore. The new research has made the best flood risk map of the US coastline so far, with a 10-mile 10-inch resolution.
“Usually we forget that if the coral reefs did not protect, there would be no beaches and we could not be there,” Beck pointed out.
The coral reefs provide over $ 1.8 billion ($ 520 billion) of flooding per year on the US coast: Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. From Hawaii to Kuai, $ 12 million, Oahun $ 395 million, Maui $ 377 million, and big island (Hawaii) $ 51 million.