Five Pacific islands lost to rising sea levels
At least five reef islands in the Solomon Islands have been completely lost to rising sea levels and coastal erosion
At least five reef islands in the Solomon Islands have been completely lost to rising sea levels and coastal erosion, and a further six islands have been severely eroded.
The lost islands range in size from one to five hectares and supported dense tropical vegetation that was at least 300 years old.
Nuatambu Island is home to about 25 families and has lost more than half of its habitable area, with 11 homes being washed into the sea since 2011.
The scientific results have been published in Environmental Research Letters and confirm the numerous accounts from across the Pacific of the severe impacts of climate change on island communities.
The Solomon Islands has been a hotspot for sea-level rise over the past 20 years with the sea rising at almost three times the global average (about 7-10 mm per year since 1993).
Interactions between sea-level rise, waves, and the large range of responses observed in the Solomon Islands shows the importance of integrating local assessments with traditional knowledge when planning for action on climate change.
Chair of the Solomon Islands’ National Disaster Council, Melchior Mataki, said: “This ultimately calls for support from development partners and international financial mechanisms such as the Green Climate Fund. This support should include nationally driven scientific studies to inform adaptation planning to address the impacts of climate change in Solomon Islands.”