Five Pacific islands sink as sea level rises in climate change

May 10, 2016

Washington: Five islands in the Solomon archipelago have gone down the sea as the sea level has been rising due to global warming. These were one to five hectares in size and had hundreds of years old tropical vegetation. Nuatambu, one among them and the most populated, had 11 of 25 houses washed away in the last few years. This confirms the incidence of impact of climate change on coastlines.

Sea level in the Solomon group of islands has been rising in the last few years due to climate change by as much as 7 mm a year while the global rate is 3 mm. According to Environmental Research Letters, rising sea level is putting the islands on the verge of disappearing.

The Solomon archipelago in the western South Pacific Ocean, northeast of Australia, forms much of the territory of the State of Solomon Islands.

Recently, Nauru, the world's smallest independent republic, also in the northeast of Australia, had been leading the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) at the UN Climate Change conference. The 43 members of the Alliance include countries that are literally disappearing amid rising sea levels. Nauru is the world's smallest island nation with a population of just under 10,000, northeast of Australia.

The Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change said in 2007 that sea levels would rise between seven and 23 inches (18 and 59 cm) this century. But the increasing ice-melt in the Arctic could raise it by about one metre.

Among those most threatened are the Marshall Islands, halfway between Hawaii and Papua New Guinea. However, measuring sea levels among the Pacific islands is all the more difficult due to weather systems known as El Nino and La Nina, according to climatologists. Apart from sea level rise, the climate change produces extreme storms.

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