Archive for December, 2006
An inhabited island in the Sundarban region of India have disappeared, and their submergence is being blamed by some on global warming-induced sea level rise.
The Independent (UK) reports the disappearance of Lohachara as the first sinking of an inhabited island caused by climate change, and suggests that 12 islands with a population 70,000 are in danger.
While the danger of rising seas appears real, islands disappear (and appear) in this deltaic region on the Bay of Bengal all the time, and it might be hard to pin this particular instance on the small sea level rise that has occurred so far. Indeed, Lohachara might be a char — the Bangladeshi name for the notoriously shifting and often temporary river deposits that land pressure forces desperate people in the region to live on.
The month’s National Geographic has rare coverage of the South Sandwich Islands.
The South Sandwich(es?) are a part of the British dependency of South Georgia in the far South Atlantic. They are scoured by fierce weather, volcanically active, and uninhabited by humans.
A few highlights from the article:
- The islands are very young, only about three million years old.
- They are very difficult to visit, and even scientists seldom set foot there.
- Birdlife is prolific, including three million chinstrap penguins. Zavodovski Island alone hosts 2 million each summer, as a photo spread attests
- Eruptions on Montagu Island since 2005 have added about 100 acres to the island.
NG has some video and commentary on the islands by Maria Stenzel, who took the article’s extraordinary photographs, and got to stand on some of Montagu’s new land.