Global warming will likely stress Hawaii's fresh water.
East-West Center Research Fellow Victoria Keener says rising sea levels are expected to push salt water into aquifers that store the state's drinking water.
A drop in rainfall will also mean less recharging of these aquifers.
Keener says is more of a slow-moving disaster than a dramatic giant storm. She says the drought parts of the state have experienced in recent years could become more intense.
This is one scenario discussed in the new National Climate Assessment released Tuesday. The report has a chapter on how a warming planet will affect Hawaii and U.S.-affiliated Pacific islands.
Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources Chairman William Aila says climate change is here and is happening. He says it's our generation's greatest challenge.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie released the following statement:
"Being the only island state in the country, we are especially vulnerable to climate change. Many of us in Hawaii are already seeing its effects in the way of rising temperatures, drought, flooding, sea-level rise, coastal erosion and ocean acidification. The National Climate Assessment is a graphic reminder that we need to act now."
"The Obama administration is dedicated to being a stalwart environmental steward for our future generations. My appointment to the President’s State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience allows Hawaii to have a strong voice in national discussions on climate change. I recently met with stakeholders at all levels and asked the public for input on how the federal government can better support state and other local efforts in climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience."
"Now, more than ever, we must find opportunities to work together to prepare for climate change and mitigate its impacts."