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[Hawaii Beach Monitoring Program]



Project Objectives

The overall objectives of the Hawaii Coastal Erosion Study are to document the recent history of shoreline change in Hawaii and to determine the primary factor(s) responsible for coastal erosion in low-latitude environments.

Specific objectives include:
a) document the magnitude and extent of the erosion problem;
b) determine the individual causes for coastal erosion in the
Hawaiian Islands and establish their relative importance;
c) develop a coastal hazard database that can be applied to other
studies; and
d) provide input for predictive models on long-term coastal behavior.

This project will integrate studies of erosion history, large-scale coastal behavior, and the reef record to develop a comprehensive model of coastal-systems evolution with the goal of further enhancing our predictive capabilities regarding shoreline stability in important low-latitude environments. It is anticipated that results from this project can be applied to low-latitude shorelines around the globe.

In an effort to establish baseline beach conditions, monitor seasonal beach fluctuations, and understand the dynamics of beach change in Hawaii, a program of beach and nearshore monitoring was initiated in 1994 on the islands of Maui and Oahu. Five years of biannual (approx. summer/winter) profiles on forty-two Oahu, and thirty-seven Maui, beaches have been collected to date. In order to address long-term change, we attempted to re-occupy beach monitoring sites established by University of Hawaii researchers during the early 1960s (Moberly and Chamberlain, 1964). However, determining the exact location of old profile sites proved difficult because of development along the coast and loss of the 1960s reference marks. All new sites are referenced to a common GPS network for accurate horizontal and vertical positioning.

The data and results are presented in this web site (a separate CDROM is also available). For the islands of Oahu and Maui, we present index maps showing the location of the beach profile monitoring sites. Each site is linked to a site map, photograph of the area, collection of beach profiles, and the profile data.


Moberly, R., Jr. and Chamberlain, T., 1964. Hawaiian Beach Systems. Hawaii Institute of Geophysics, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, 95p.


Developed and maintained by Ann E. Gibbs
Last modified June 29, 2001
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