Key Idea Island communities, infrastructure, and ecosystems are vulnerable to coastal inundation due to sea-level rise and coastal storms.

Flooding will become more frequent and coastal land will be permanently lost as the sea inundates low-lying areas and the shorelines erode. Loss of land will affect living things in coastal ecosystems. For example, the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, which are low-lying and therefore at great risk from rising sea level, have a high concentration of threatened and endangered species, some of which exist nowhere else. Hurricanes and other storm events cause major impacts to local communities including loss of life, damage to infrastructure and other property, and contamination of freshwater supplies. With further warming, hurricanes and typhoon peak wind intensities and rainfall are likely to increase, which, combined with sea-level rise, would cause higher storm surge levels.

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