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Climate alarmists have hyped the Pacific Island nation of Tuvalu as a prime example of the dangers posed by rising sea levels caused by anthropogenic climate change. They warn Tuvalu’s islands will soon be underwater, creating thousands of climate refugees. Science is once again confounding the alarming climate projections: new research published in the journal Nature Communications shows Tuvalu is actually growing as sea levels rise.
Researchers from the University of Auckland used aerial photographs and satellite imagery to examine changes in Tuvalu’s nine atolls and 101 reef islands between 1971 and 2014. They found eight of the nine atolls and 75 percent of the islands grew during the time period, increasing Tuvalu’s land area by 2.9 percent. Among other factors, the researchers found wave patterns and sediment dumped by storms seem to be more than offsetting the rising sea levels, adding to Tuvalu’s land base.
According to coauthor Paul Kench, Ph.D., a coastal geomorphologist, the researchers’ findings indicate Tuvaluans should be planning for a long-term future on the islands instead of preparing to migrate in flight from rising seas.
“We tend to think of Pacific atolls as static landforms that will simply be inundated as sea levels rise, but there is growing evidence these islands are geologically dynamic and are constantly changing,” Kench said. “The study findings may seem counter-intuitive, given that (the) sea level has been rising in the region over the past half century, but the dominant mode of change over that time on Tuvalu has been expansion, not erosion. … [As a result,] loss of land is unlikely to be a factor in forcing depopulation of Tuvalu.”