Sea-Level Rise Claims Five Islands in Solomons: Study

ENVIRONMENT, 16 May 2016

teleSUR – TRANSCEND Media Service

Five islands have disappeared in the Pacific’s Solomon Islands due to rising sea levels and coastal erosion.

At least 11 islands across the northern Solomon Islands have either totally disappeared over recent decades or are currently experiencing severe erosion, an Australian study shows. (photo: Reuters)

At least 11 islands across the northern Solomon Islands have either totally disappeared over recent decades or are currently experiencing severe erosion, an Australian study shows. (photo: Reuters)

8 May 2016 – A new study published by Australian academics reveals at least five low-lying reef islands in the Solomon Islands have vanished due rising global sea-levels and coastal erosion.

“At least eleven islands across the northern Solomon Islands have either totally disappeared over recent decades or are currently experiencing severe erosion,” a new report published in the journal Environmental Research Letters stated.

The researchers looked at 33 islands using aerial and satellite imagery from 1947 to 2014, combined with historical insight from local knowledge.

“They were not just little sand islands,” lead author of the report, Simon Albert, told AFP.

The new research discovered that rates of shoreline recession were substantially higher in areas exposed to high wave energy, indicating a “synergistic interaction” between sea-level rise and waves, which Albert said could prove useful for future study.

Albert, a senior research fellow at the University of Queensland, said the Solomons Islands are considered a sea-level hotspot because rises there are almost three times higher than the global average.

The most recent findings by a team of climate researchers serves as evidence of the devastating impact of climate change on low lying Pacific countries, the report warns.

“Climate change induced sea-level rise is anticipated to be one of the greatest challenges for humanity over the coming century,” According to the report.

“Understanding the extent and rate of recent shoreline changes on the islands of the western Pacific is an important step towards assisting these vulnerable communities to adapt to the unprecedented rate of sea-level rise and associated climate changes (e.g. winds and waves) expected over the coming century.”

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