Archive for the 'Indian Ocean' Category

Eight Disappearing Islands?

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

Maldives from spaceThe website Treehugger recently suggested eight places — low-lying islands, more specifically — that will “soon” be uninhabitable due to climate change.

They are:

  • the Maldives, in the Indian Ocean
  • Tuvalu, Kiribati, the Carteret Islands (off PNG), and Majuro Atoll (Marshall Islands) in the Pacific
  • Lamu and Pate, Kenyan coastal islands
  • Bhola, in southern Bangladesh
  • Key West, off southern Florida

“Soon” is a relative term here–many of these places would still be inhabitable for decades, under current sea-level rise forecasts.

The Pacific islands involve relatively small numbers of people; they could actually be moved, though this would involve irreparable cultural destruction. Bangladesh illustrates another level of impact: millions of people live on these low-lying islands, and tens of millions in vulnerable coastal areas.

This is of course a tiny part of the problem; hundreds of thousands of islands are in danger of disappearing or greatly shrinking in the face of sea-level rise.

(Thanks to Stu Gagnon for the tip.)

Image: Maldives from space, courtesy NASA

Disappearing Indian islands

Sunday, December 24th, 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.

Island off Mauritius on “The Amazing Race”

Sunday, October 29th, 2006

On tonight’s episode of “The Amazing Race” (season 10) the teams went to a small island off the southwest coast of the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius.

The island is the Ile aux Benitiers.  It could be hard to find something there: the island is low, partially vegetated, and perhaps 300 acres.

The “rusty shack” appears to be in one of these groups of buildings.

“The youngest island in the Seychelles”

Wednesday, March 8th, 2006

Bancs de Sable, Farquhar Atoll, has been slowly growing for decades, and is “around 50 years old or to put this in perspective, less than one millionth of the age of the granite islands” of this Indian Ocean nation.  Seabirds have taken up residence.