Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Bryan Leyland: Things you know that ain't so - coral atolls are disappearing

Things you know that ain't so - coral atolls are disappearing beneath rising oceans”

No they are not. The fact that atolls exist proves that they can cope with rapidly rising sea levels.

The world came out of the last ice age about 16,000 - 12,000 years ago. During this period sea levels rose at up to 3 m per century – 30 mm per year! If coral growth had not been able to keep up with this, the atolls would not exist. And that is all you need to know!

Confirmation comes from recent research by Webb and Kench ( University of Auckland) that shows that 24/27 atolls in the central Pacific increased in area in spite of a sea level rise of 2 mm per year.

So why do we see pictures of islands being eroded by what is claimed to be rapidly rising sea levels and hear stories about people being forced to evacuate?

The simple answer is that many overpopulated atolls do have real problems with the encroaching sea. In many cases they are pumping groundwater from under the atoll and this is causing settlement and flooding. This is often exacerbated by the fact that buildings, roads and the like stop rainwater replenishing the groundwater reserves. In some islands they have dug coral from the lagoon – and maybe the reef itself – to use for buildings and this has reduced the protection they once had from ocean waves. So waves that once were dissipated on the reef and the lagoon finish up washing away the land. Another problem is that although the total area of the atoll has increased, there were decreases in some areas and increases in others. If the decreases occurred where people live, they, quite understandably, get quite upset. A hundred years ago they would have simply moved to a part of the atoll that was increasing area. But that is not so simple now.

The really sad thing about all this is that these islands do have problems that, to a large extent, are man-made and the result of overpopulation. Claiming that they are caused by rising sea levels diverts attention from the real problems that can be solved, to a non-existent problem that, they claim, can only be solved if the whole world reduces carbon dioxide emissions.

There is one exception to all this: the Carteret Islands near New Guinea do suffer from inundation. the reason is quite simple: they are on the edge of a subduction zone and the islands are slowly sinking beneath the sea. In spite of this, people expect us to believe that the rapid encroachment of the sea is caused by rising sea levels – and hence expect us to believe that, in this area alone, the sea level is rising rapidly – a sort of mini mountain of water! Believe that and you’ll believe anything!

What we need to do is look at what is really happening on places like Tuvalu, the real problems that they do have and work with them to find a solution.


Unknown said...

Talk to the Dutch . They have been living below sea level for some time.

Bruce M said...

Actually, most atolls and volcanic oceanic islands are sinking, albeit at a slower rate than people suppose. This is Darwin's theory, the only one which explains all the evidence and never bettered. Look it up!

Bruce M

Anonymous said...

Jolly interesting. Also perhaps, due to increasing demands, people are trying to live in places that have always been more prone to periodic inundation.