November 14, 2013
Image Caption: This is Surprise island, a low-lying island located in the northwest of New Caledonia. Credit: Jean Michel Chapuis
Alan McStravick for redOrbit.com Your Universe Online
Before he was deposed as president of the island nation of the Maldives last year, Mohamed Nasheed was a fierce advocate and proponent for addressing the seemingly inevitable environmental crisis coming about as a result of global sea level rise. President Nasheed and his efforts were chronicled in the 2011 documentary The Island President.
In addition to the threat of sea level rise, we were reminded this past weekend about the detrimental effect global warming plays in generating super storms when Super Typhoon Haiyan ravaged entire swaths of islands that comprise the nation of the Philippines.
[ Watch the Video: Super-Typhoon Haiyan Seen From International Space Station ]
In an article for the Mother Nature Network, Sebastian Rhodes Stampa, the head of a United Nations disaster assessment team that arrived in the area on Saturday, said, The last time I saw something of this scale was in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami. He continued, This is destruction on a massive scale. There are cars thrown like tumbleweed.
Research by C. Bellard, C. Leclerc and F. Courchamp of the University of Paris Sud examines how a rise in sea level is sure to bring catastrophe to the island habitats of the globe. As islands are submerged, the Earth can expect to lose a full 20 percent of the worlds biodiversity. In their study, they look at 3 possible scenarios ranging from optimistic to very pessimistic outcomes. They offer their work in the hope it will sound the alarm for the potential dangers we might expect from the worst of the scenarios. The study was published in the open access journal Nature Conservation.
To date, there has been no global assessment of sea level rise and its consequences on the worlds island ecosystems. These vulnerable regions would no doubt experience a near total reduction in habitat, leading to monumental loss of life and creating a refugee class unlike any the world has ever known.
The French researchers focused their study on 1,269 islands that were harbored originally by France. With sea level rise projections estimated anywhere from 18 inches to 18 feet by the end of the century, the islands of New Caledonia and French Polynesia were found to be the most vulnerable ecosystems.
See more here:
Islands At Risk: Sea Level Rise Threatens Island Ecosystems