Some reef islands resilient to climate change: study

Posted: July 16, 2019 by oldbrew in climate, research, sea levels
Tags:

Atafu atoll in the Pacific [image credit: NASA Johnson Space Center]


Good news for the rest of humanity may be bad news for climate miserablists, but hey-ho. Another global warming canard takes a knock.

The Pacific’s low-lying reef islands are likely to change shape in response to climate change, rather than simply sinking beneath rising seas and becoming uninhabitable as previously assumed, new research has found.

Atoll nations such as Tuvalu, Tokelau and Kiribati lie only a few metres above sea level and are considered the world’s most vulnerable to global warming, with fears their populations will become climate refugees as waters rise, says Phys.org.

But a study published this week found that such islands “morphodynamically respond” to the environment because they are composed of the skeletal remains of tiny reef-dwelling organisms, rather than solid rock.

The researchers said evidence that such islands slowly change like shifting sands had profound implications for climate change planning in affected nations.

Co-author Murray Ford of Auckland University said low-lying reef islands appeared more resilient than previously thought.

“The effects on individual islands will vary so that while some areas may become uninhabitable, (other) areas will keep pace with rising seas,” he said.

“It will be up to governments and communities to decide how to respond over time, but we think this study highlights the fact that nature provides a template for adaptation and island communities may need to adapt too.”

The study, conducted by researchers from New Zealand, Britain and Canada, was published by the Geological Society of America this week.

Continued here.

Footnote: The same team last year used historical aerial photographs to show that the land area of Tuvalu’s nine atolls and 101 reef islands has increased by 2.9 percent between 1971 and 2014.

Comments
  1. Brett Keane says:

    Our good scientists here in NZ knew this. Is this a sea change in honesty to back up Peter Ridd? Brett

  2. Phoenix44 says:

    If the Atlantic is getting bigger because of the mid-Atlantic ridge, is the Pacific getting smaller?

  3. oldbrew says:

    Brett – NZ science was involved.

    ‘Co-author Murray Ford of Auckland University said low-lying reef islands appeared more resilient than previously thought.’

    The report also says:
    New Zealand’s progressive government entered office in 2017 with a policy of creating a world-first visa that recognised climate change refugees fleeing their swamped homelands.

    But it quietly shelved the idea last year after receiving feedback from islanders, who wanted relief efforts to concentrate on saving their homes rather than easing access to new ones elsewhere.

    So they’re not about to drown but some funding would be nice 😎

  4. ivan says:

    So they’re not about to drown but some funding would be nice

    oldbrew, it has always been about the money and what they can con from the rich nations. The climate hoaxers were a godsend to the Pacific island nations, it gave the islanders quick access to money which had been in short supply up to that time. Most of the islanders know their islands are not in danger but have learned to play the climate change tune very well.

    Since the climate change band wagon never looks at history they never realised just haw well the islands used for the atomic tests have regrown from that time, if they had looked they might have learned something.

  5. stpaulchuck says:

    in fact one of the biggest threats to the islands is overuse of the aquifers. It has bee studied and proven that a lot of the “sinking” islands are doing so because the central part of the island is buoyed on the aquifer which has a bit of a dome shape. As they pull more and more water out of it, it slowly collapses and the island with it. They cut their own ‘throats’.

  6. Kip Hansen says:

    Anyone have access to the full original study? https://pubs.geoscienceworld.org/gsa/geology/article-abstract/572047/physical-modelling-of-the-response-of-reef-islands doi: 10.1130/G46362.1 Usual attempts to retrieve the article result in a web error report.

  7. oldbrew says:

    Looks like pay-to-play, Kip 😦

    Or find an academic insider?

  8. oldbrew says:

    Another broadside…

    Nils-Axel Mörner: Open letter to the COP23 President

    Mr. President,
    The community assembled at the COP23 meeting in Bonn badly wants
    temperature to rise according to models proposed (but never verified, rather
    seriously contradicted) and sea level changes that may pose serious flooding
    threats to low lying coasts provided sea level would suddenly start to rise at
    rates never recorded before (which would violate physical laws as well as
    accumulated scientific knowledge over centuries).

    https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/nils-axel-morner-open-letter-to-the-cop23-president/

    That was just the start 😎

  9. Gamecock says:

    ‘The researchers said evidence that such islands slowly change like shifting sands had profound implications for climate change planning in affected nations.’

    “Climate change planning” is a thing?

    “Low lying islands”

    I looked at the pictured Atafu on Google Earth. All except for north east, the ocean is a mile deep within 3 miles of it. 4.5 miles to the NE.

    ‘But a study published this week found that such islands “morphodynamically respond” to the environment because they are composed of the skeletal remains of tiny reef-dwelling organisms, rather than solid rock.’

    I’m surprised the skeletal remains are a mile deep.

  10. Brett Keane says:

    Hi Gamecock: they sit on their originating dead volcano until it sinks too deep. Forget that depth. Decades of work at Auckland Uni got past the usual warmists at last. After the usual abuse. Lol

    The power of empirics. Which is why I commented Brett

  11. Brett Keane says:

    Read Paul Kenches Papers from Google Scholar. Decades of work in what is mainly our NZ backyard after all…. Brett

  12. oldbrew says:

    What exactly is the climate change these atolls are being resilient to? Nobody really knows.

    It turns out that interpreting past data of sea surface temperatures is a can of worms to say the least…

    JULY 17, 2019
    Correcting historic sea surface temperature measurements

    How do you compare, for example, the measurements of a British Man-of-War from 1820 to a Japanese fishing vessel from 1920 to a U.S. Navy ship from 1950? How do you know what kind of buckets were used, and how much they were warmed by sunshine or cooled by evaporation while being sampled?
    https://phys.org/news/2019-07-historic-sea-surface-temperature.html

    Japanese data holds the key to warming in the Pacific in the early 20th century
    Where was that warming coming from? Not ‘carbon emissions’ from air or road traffic, relatively few power stations.

    discrepancies still remain and the overall rate of warming found in the measurements is still faster than predicted by model simulations.
    More ‘adjustments’ needed 😉

  13. ivan says:

    oldbrew, I very much doubt that the models they are using take into account the fact there are a large number of underwater volcanoes in the pacific area, just as they don’t take into account the many under ice volcanoes in Antarctica might have something to with sea ice melt.

  14. Brett Keane says:

    Water has high temp inertia. Buckets at ambience. Sampling done quick or water lost to bucket swing, in my years at sea….Brett

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