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Development of renewable energy technologies will decrease our dependence on fossil fuels, but will have other unique environmental impacts, which will interact with changing climatic conditions. Seawater air conditioning (SWAC) is one such technology that will be implemented in upcoming years in Honolulu, HI. The operation of the SWAC system will cause upwelling of nutrient-rich water from 500 m depth to the photic zone, impacting both benthic and pelagic waters. The use of deep seawater cooling is unprecedented at this scale. Understanding current baseline environmental conditions is crucial to our ability to predict and manage impacts, and we have implemented an oceanographic monitoring time series at the SWAC location using long-term moorings on the benthos, water column profiling and water sampling. However, changing conditions in the future ocean will alter environmental outcomes in the long term. In Hawaii, northeasterly trade winds are one of the major drivers of our weather and regional climate. In future world climate scenarios, equatorial easterlies that drive trade winds are expected to weaken, but the impacts of this weakening are unknown at the regional scale of Hawaii. Model predictions have shown two different possible scenarios for Hawaii: increased northerly wind, or increased southwesterly (Kona) wind. Changes in wind stress combined with warming surface oceans would affect the trajectory of the SWAC plume. We will discuss the ways in which SWAC's environmental impact may change under future ocean conditions using present day observations.


Comfort, C. M., University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA,

McManus, M. A., University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA,

Ostrander, C. E., University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA,

Karl, D. M., University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA,


Oral presentation

Session #:034
Date: 02/27/2017
Time: 12:30
Location: 306 A

Presentation is given by student: No