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The True Status of Earth's "Sinking Islands"
Volume 16, Number 42: 16 October 2013

In a study recently published in Remote Sensing of Environment, Murray Ford of New Zealand's University of Auckland writes (Ford, 2013) that "future trajectories of anthropogenic-driven climate changes raise questions surrounding the long-term viability of low-lying atoll islands as centers of human habitation." Indeed, it is one of the mantras of the climate-alarmist movement that global warming will lead to an acceleration of sea level rise that will inundate large portions of low-lying island states, making them uninhabitable.

So what else is new? How about the fact that in preparation for this "inevitable phenomenon," the government of the Maldives already held its first underwater cabinet meeting way back in October of 2009 with participants dressed in full scuba gear. Well, that's one way to deal with things. A much better way, however, is to see what can be learned from the past about this horrific problem. And when this is done, the dire threat is seen to likely be ... no threat at all.

In a nutshell, while studying Wotje Atoll of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Ford used a combination of aerial photographs and satellite imagery of shoreline changes that occurred over a 67-year period that was characterized by rising sea levels. And what did he find?

Ford reports that between 1945 and 2010 shoreline accretion was more prevalent than shoreline erosion, with an average net shoreline extension of +1.74 m, specifically noting that "shorelines were accretionary along the lagoon, ocean and channel facing shorelines, as well as on elongate spits and small islands." However, he notes that "shorelines interpreted from high resolution satellite imagery captured between 2004 and 2012 indicate that shorelines within this sample of islands are largely in an erosive state," which he suggests "may be sea level rise induced, or part of an unresolved shoreline oscillation."

Whatever the case, Ford rightly states that his study demonstrates "the critical need for improved shoreline change monitoring within atoll settings in order to assess sea level rise impacts along island shorelines." Clearly, the real-world of nature is much more complex than what climate-change ideologues view it to be; and we must not be wrongly persuaded by their simplistic and ideological way of thinking.

Sherwood, Keith and Craig Idso

Ford, M. 2013. Shoreline changes interpreted from multi-temporal aerial photographs and high resolution satellite images: Wotje Atoll, Marshall Islands. Remote Sensing of Environment 135: 130-140.