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Climate Change: Rising Sea-Level Swallowed 5 Islands in South Pacific

May 09, 2016 10:41 AM EDT
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There are many skeptics about the negative impacts of climate change, especially the sea-level rise, but the sudden disappearance of five islands in the south pacific provides concrete proof of the potential "water world" danger of human-induced climate change.

A new study, published in the Environmental Research Letter, provides the first scientific evidence confirming the numerous anecdotal accounts throughout the Pacific of the striking negative impacts of climate change on coastlines and people.

According to the study, five reef islands with size ranging from one to five hectares in the remote Solomon Islands were swallowed by the rising sea-level. These islands house dense tropical vegetation, which was at least 300 years old.

In addition to the vanished islands, researchers also observed six other islands that are experiencing severe shoreline recession. Nuatambu Island, for example, has lost more than half of its habitable area, washing away 11 houses since 2011.

Researchers believe that by the half of the century, other islands in the Pacific will experience long-term rates of rise in sea-level similar to those already experienced in the Solomon Islands.

For the study, researchers analyzed aircraft and satellite imagery from 1947 and 2015 to determine the erosion-rates of 33 islands. These imageries were then used together with sea-level records, radio-carbon dating of trees, wave models and local knowledge.

The researchers also discovered that waves play a crucial role in the disappearance of the islands. They have observed that islands subjected and exposed to wave energy are more likely to deteriorate faster than sheltered island.

 Rising sea-level can be very dangerous and can lead to displacement of millions of family living near coastal areas.

Independent reported that Taro, the capital of Choiseul Province, is preparing to relocate its entire population and services in response to the rising sea-level caused by climate change. If this happens, Taro will become the first provincial capital in the world to relocate its entire populace, but surely, without any preventive measures against climate change, it won't be the last.

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