Although experts can not directly trace the shrinking of East Island to the effects of climate change, Clark said, it contributes to the strength and frequency of hurricanes like the one that overtook the island.
East Island used to be basically sand and gravel dispersed over an area about 1 kilometer [0.6mi] long and 120 meters [390ft] wide. A news release from the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument confirmed "significant changes" to parts of the French Frigate Shoals in the wake of Walaka, which was a Category 4 hurricane with winds near 220 km/h when it swept across the chain on October 3.
Hawaii's East Island is no longer on the map.
It is unclear where the seals and turtles that rely on the island will go next or what the long-term impact to wildlife will be.
Satellite images taken after the hurricane showed that it has nearly entirely vanished.
"The probability of such events will increase with further climate change", commented climate scientist from the University of Hawaii Chip Fletcher (Chip Fletcher). It was inhabited Hawaiian monk seals and green turtles, which shortly before the hurricane moved to the other Islands of the Hawaiian archipelago.
Important nesting grounds for threatened green sea turtles are now fully submerged after a direct hit by a powerful hurricane on one of Hawaii's largest atolls earlier this month.
He was the second-largest island in French Frat-shoals is the largest Atoll of the northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
A remote northwestern Hawaiian island has almost vanished after Hurricane Walaka barreled through the Pacific last month, eliminating - at least for now - a critical habitat for endangered species.
Many of them raised their young on the island. About 15 percent of the world's Hawaiian monk seals were also born there, said NOAA conservation biologist Charles Littnan. Fletcher added that it's another issue "in the wall of the network of ecosystem diversity on this planet that is being dismantled".
Federal Agency of the U.S. National oceanic and atmospheric administration (NOAA) is now assessing how much damage the disappearance of the island may cause to the animals.
Thankfully the turtles had already left the area for the season, so weren't hit by the storm, but may face trouble when they return.