Pacific islands defy climate-change theory by growing in size
Published 04/06/2010 | 05:00
LOW-LYING Pacific islands regarded as examples of the threat from rising sea levels caused by climate change are expanding, not sinking, a study claims.
Among the island chains to have increased in land area are Tuvalu and neighbouring Kiribati.
In the study, scientists compared aerial photographs and high-resolution satellite images of 27 islands taken since the 1950s. Only four, mostly uninhabited, had decreased in area despite local sea level rises of almost five inches, while 23 stayed the same or grew. Seven islands in Tuvalu grew, one by 30pc.
Prof Paul Kench, of Auckland University, who co-authored the study with Dr Arthur Webb, a Fiji-based expert on coastal processes, said the study suggested the islands had a natural ability to respond to rising seas by accumulating coral debris.
"It has long been thought that as the sea level goes up, islands will sit there and drown.
"But they won't," Prof Kench said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)