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New Effort to Understand Drought in Hawaiʻi and U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands

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Changing temperature and precipitation patterns related to climate change may exacerbate extreme conditions, like drought, in the Pacific Islands. These conditions can have serious implications for the supply of freshwater on islands, the health of important ecosystems and wildlife species, and the ability of many local communities to continue their traditional ways of life.

Abby Frazier, research geographer, recently joined the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Pacific Islands Climate Science Center (CSC), a center managed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the USDA Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry as post-doctoral lead of a new effort to understand the future of drought impacts in Hawaiʻi and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands. This project will be a collaborative effort with the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and the USGS Pacific Islands Water Science Center.

Frazier, stationed in Honolulu, will tap into state-of-the-science data on current and predicted climate and rainfall patterns, and will package and translate that information into forms designed for use by resource managers and community leaders.

Frazier received her PhD in geography from the UH Mānoa in 2016, and investigated “The Influence of Large-Scale Modes of Climate Variability on Spatiotemporal Rainfall Patterns and Vegetation Response in Hawaiʻi” in a research group led by Tom Giambelluca, a professor in the Geography Department in the College of Social Sciences and UH Mānoa.