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Tales of the Coast
Coastal Dynamics

Wind and Hawaii's Coasts

Wind affects Hawaii's coasts by creating waves , which can transport and erode sediment. Waves contribute to the creation of biogenic sediment from coral reefs. These sediments comprise much of the beach material on Hawaii.

The northeast trade winds generate waves that erode Hawaiian beaches. For this reason, many of the best beaches are found on the western sides of the islands, which are protected from these winds and their resulting waves.

Wind-generated waves also erode and undercut the rocky volcanic cliffs, such as along the southeast coast of the island of Hawaii.

Hawaii Molokai
Source: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration

Wind and Hawaii's Coasts

Hawaii's Coasts: Many beaches on Hawaii are undergoing serious erosion, which is influenced by wind-driven waves. This is a critical problem because tourism is a major part of the Hawaiian economy, and beaches are among the great attractions.