Australia’s ABC comes round to the sinking islands/floating islands issue

UPDATED: Note that this tip was spurred by this discussion at Andrew Bolt’s today, and I failed to note the date of the ABC story was in 2010, and I apologize for any confusion, but there’s also relevant news today. Bolt writes: Look at this other drowning island, the Global Mail writer insisted. So I did…

Bolts adds:

A new paper published in the AGU’s house journal Eos Transactions shows why caution is often justified. Here … is the 1993-2011 sea level trend data from Tarawa atoll, part of Kiribati in the central Pacific:

image


Whoa! No sea-level rise there, then. And yet of course climate campaigners – and even the Kiribati government – understandably anxious to highlight the future existential threat to the islands, have used storm surges, flooding events and suchlike as evidence of current sea-level rise impacts. Which they are almost certainly not, at least not in Tarawa atoll anyway…

First this story from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (h/t to Paul Ostergaard)

ABC_news_islands

“Eighty per cent of the islands we’ve looked at have either remained about the same or, in fact, gotten larger,” he said.

“Some of those islands have gotten dramatically larger, by 20 or 30 per cent.

“We’ve now got evidence the physical foundations of these islands will still be there in 100 years.”

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2010-06-03/pacific-islands-growing-not-sinking/851738

===============================================================

From the “we told you so” department comes this essay from Willis Eschenbach:

Since (as Darwin showed) atolls float up with the sea level, the idea that they will be buried by sea level rises is totally unfounded. Despite never being more than a few metres tall, they have survived a sea level rise of up to three hundred plus feet (call it a hundred metres) within the last twenty thousand years. Historically they have floated up higher than the peaks of drowned mountains.

So the third claim is not true either. Atolls are created by sea level rise, not destroyed by sea level rise.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/27/floating-islands/

And as I and others have pointed out, the sea level scare is just another money making enterprise, as evidenced by the increase in airport expansion, among other things.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/15/message-to-maldives-president-your-claims-are-bs/

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/09/kiribati-on-the-move-not-sinking/

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/06/02/tuvalu-and-many-other-south-pacific-islands-are-not-sinking-claims-they-are-due-to-global-warming-driven-sea-level-rise-are-opportunistic/

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52 Responses to Australia’s ABC comes round to the sinking islands/floating islands issue

  1. Mike says:

    Reblogged this on This Got My Attention and commented:
    Oops, sea levels aren’t rising. Now what do we do?

  2. philjourdan says:

    Who would have thunk that the forces that created the island in the first place, did not pack up and go home once man discovered it.

  3. Bloke down the pub says:

    The more neutrals in the cagw debate see the scare stories being debunked, the quicker we can all get back to sorting out the real problems in the world.

  4. Bruce Cobb says:

    When scientists are “surprised” it means either they haven’t been paying attention, or it goes against their cherished beliefs, and could jeopardize their future careers. With climate scientologists, I’m guessing the latter.

  5. Espen says:

    We knew this, but note that the ABC story is 3 years old!

  6. Bev says:

    That ABC article is three years old… or am I missing something?

    REPLY: No, other than I was in a hurry this morning to provide a couple of posts before going to a long appointment and thought the tip given to me was in fact a new story. It doesn’t make the Atoll issue any less valid though. – Anthony

  7. katabasis1 says:

    Can we have our millions in extorted climate guilt money back now, please?

  8. Stew says:

    The obsessive-compulsive alarmists are in a panic now … its worse than they thought!! There is no problem and they need lots of scary problems, preferably scarier than the last scary story to keep the AGW gravy train flowing.

  9. DesertYote says:

    “… challenges views …”

    I think they meant to say “… debunks propaganda …”

  10. Barry Woods says:

    The ABC are a bit slow….

    ….. even the BBC knew about his.. ages ago… (3 years ago)

    BBC – Low-lying Pacific islands ‘growing not sinking’ – June 2010
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10222679

  11. MattN says:

    Depending on what side you’re on, lots of good or bad news this week…

  12. Barry Woods says:

    hang on – old news at the ABC as well (same story) ABC dated 2010?

  13. Garrett says:

    Hang on a minute. That ABC article is actually quite pessimistic about the problems related to sea-level rise:
    “Sea levels are obviously rising … the key problem is that sea level rise is likely to accelerate much beyond what we’ve seen in the 20th century. Naomi Thirobaux, from Kiribati, has studied the shape of Pacific islands for her PhD and says no-one should be lulled into thinking erosion and inundation is not taking its toll and displacing people from their land. “In a populated area what would happen was that if it’s eroding, a few metres would actually displace people,” she said.”
    Why didn’t you tackle that part of the news article?
    Also, as far as I can recall, Darwin never said that atolls “floated” with sea level rise. Atolls are anchored to the sea-bed. They were indeed formed by rising sea levels (or subsiding land levels), but on very, very long time scales. I’m not sure anybody knows whether they can continue to follow sea level rise on a short time scale.
    Finally, you still recognize that sea levels are rising, so what about the coastal areas that have nothing to do with atolls? How do you expect them to cope?
    Best regards.

  14. SanityP says:

    The story is from 2010.

  15. mogamboguru says:

    Aww! Pesky facts!

    Let’s declare “War on Facts!” immediately – like we have declared “War on Drugs!” and “War on Terrah!” already – because these two have demonstrably worked sooooo well for us, either…

  16. onlyme says:

    http://www.theglobalmail.org/feature/kiribati-a-nation-going-under/590/ is the original alarmist story reported to and commented on by Andrew Bolt, who replied with the posting referenced here from the ABC.
    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/the_global_mail_wails_about_the_vanishing_islands_of_kiribati
    and yet again at
    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/look_at_this_other_drowning_island_the_global_mail_writer_insisted_so_i_did/
    His satellite photos and the reference to the ABC story seem to do a fairly good job debunking the Global Mail story dated April 15 2013 is the current one drawing comment in Australia.

  17. OMG ITZ SINKING NOT!!!
    The Island of Kiribati a time lapse view from 1984 to 2012
    http://earthengine.google.org/#intro/v=1.8668577,-157.35992020000003,9.510624971357084

  18. Perfekt says:

    It´s worse than we thought!
    If the oceans fill up with atolls, sea level will raise at an unprecedented rate.

    Meanwhile carbon dioxide in the water will kill the corals, and women will be forced to offer sexual services to locusts who will cover the droughtridden parts of the world that is still above water. Oh, and flesheating fungus will devour them and everyone else (except thelocusts). It´s Science, you cant argue with that!

  19. agfosterjr says:

    Garrett says:
    May 16, 2013 at 8:24 am
    “Finally, you still recognize that sea levels are rising, so what about the coastal areas that have nothing to do with atolls? How do you expect them to cope?”
    ======================================================
    You’re right. They will all drown. SLR is so slow no one will see it coming. They’ll just keep propagating in deeper and deeper water till they can’t breathe. And then they’ll blame it on overpopulation instead of Global Warming.

    FYI the great river deltas are only as old as the Holocene–they keep building up as sea level rises, just like atolls. Or at least they would if people would quit diking them up and interfering with sedimentation. It seems that people living along rivers get flooded more than those along coasts. Of course this should be blamed on Global Warming rather than riverside overpopulation. And if the poor people in Japan and Indonesia had paid more attention to SLR (of 3mm/year–with no sign of acceleration) than tsunami danger many of them would have survived–they just don’t understand anything about crap shoots and odds and orders of magnitude.

    So no, I don’t expect them to cope. Let them eat lifesavers. –AGF

  20. Gary Pearse says:

    I was taught as a geological undergrad in the 1950s that the coral reefs began as a necklace around a volcano rising out of the sea floor. Once established, sea level rise resulted in death of deeper parts of the reef but new growth maintained the top part. When sea level falls, the exposed coral dies, wave action breaks up the coral and pushes the detritus into the lagoon. The rise in sea level with melt back of the Pleistocene ice sheets was ~120 metres. The coral kept pace this growth. Drilling on Bikini Atoll for atomic bomb test, the coral formation was found to be~ 120 metres and the rock below it was basalt. And now this is news to scientists? As in the Dark Ages when we ‘forgot’ that the earth was spherical we had to wait two millennia to rediscover this during the beginning of the Enlightenment. I hope no one gets a PhD or, horrors, a Nobel Prize for this ‘discovery’. The ignorance of scientists today is apalling. I blame almost the lot of them when it gets to far as to be published in a scientific journal. I hope some criticize this paper in the journal.

    Mark this well! We will soon be seeing another scientific ‘breakthrough’ when they discover that the same thing is true of deltas like the Ganges, Mississippi, etc. If you drill down …wait for it!… ~120 metres you intersect river gravel and then bedrock. As sea level rose with the melting ice , the sea encroached up the river, but this causes the river flow to slow at that point and drop much of its sediment, thereby building up a delta.. Further sea level rise and etc. the delta grows outward into the gulf creating new land. If sea level falls, wave action erodes the deltaic deposits down and the river mouth recesses back upstream. Don’t worry about sea level rise, worry about the sea level falling!! I’ve commented on these two issues several times in WUWT over the years (is there some way to search this?)

  21. The Maldives will be jolly pleased then that their four new airports won’t be underwater next year!

    http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/maldives-opening-four-new-underwater-airports/

  22. KevinM says:

    But its not just island extent, its island quality. ;)

  23. agfosterjr says:

    Gary Pearse says:
    May 16, 2013 at 9:41 am
    “As in the Dark Ages when we ‘forgot’ that the earth was spherical we had to wait two millennia to rediscover this during the beginning of the Enlightenment…”
    =================================================================
    In a website dedicated to debunking fallacies, this is another one worth debunking: at no time during the “Dark Ages” was it believed that the earth was flat. The myth of a medieval flat earth is a fine example of generally accepted “truths” like CACC that have no basis in fact. Columbus, like his peers, was raised and died believing the sun revolves around the earth. He contributed as much to cosmology as Yuri Gagarin. –AGF

  24. Robert M says:

    The story does appear to be from 2010, however that does not make what Bruce said any less true, or right on target.

    Bruce Cobb says:
    May 16, 2013 at 7:58 am

    When scientists are “surprised” it means either they haven’t been paying attention, or it goes against their cherished beliefs, and could jeopardize their future careers. With climate scientologists, I’m guessing the latter.

    Right on Bruce.

  25. Alex says:

    OMG! It is worse then we thought! The oceans are going to turn into deserts if dont take action now. Stop ocean desrtification!

  26. Jimbo says:

    I saw the above image and saw the year 2010. I followed the link and saw “First posted Thu Jun 3, 2010 8:42am AEST” Is this WUWT post a ‘mistake’?

    Anyway when

    Climate scientists have expressed surprise at findings that many low-lying Pacific islands are growing, not sinking.

    it’s because they believed their own crap about accelerating sea level rise. As for those studying these islands they knew all too well how coral island atolls behave but had to express surprise lest they be thought sceptics who went out looking for the effect.

  27. RockyRoad says:

    SanityP says:
    May 16, 2013 at 8:26 am

    The story is from 2010.

    So what you’re saying is it takes 3 years for good climate news to be reported but we’re constantly bombarded with news that catastrophic climate in 50 years is imminent?

    Does that sound like an agenda or what?

  28. hunter says:

    Charles Darwin observed how atolls work and wrote about it a long time ago.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atoll
    Climate Science is now starting to get close to the consepts of modern science.
    Could it be there is hope for climate science yet?

  29. Patrick says:

    As stated, an old article, that I certainly do not recall being aired. What I do recall is the alarm in the media along the lines “Kiribati is sinking beneath rising sea levels…” and the like. Alarmism is still very strong in Aus and the ABC are still very much following the CAGW meme.

  30. Sean says:

    Wait for it….

    Its worse than we though, sea levels are falling!!!

    By next year there will be no more oceans.

  31. Philip Mulholland says:

    Charles Darwin The Voyage of the Beagle

    OCTOBER 20th. — The survey of the Galapagos Archipelago being concluded, we steered towards Tahiti and commenced our long passage of 3200 miles. In the course of a few days we sailed out of the gloomy and clouded ocean-district which extends during the winter far from the coast of South America. We then enjoyed bright and clear weather, while running pleasantly along at the rate of 150 or 160 miles a day before the steady trade-wind. The temperature in this more central part of the Pacific is higher than near the American shore. The thermometer in the poop cabin, by night and day, ranged between 80 and 83 degs., which feels very pleasant; but with one degree or two higher, the heat becomes oppressive. We passed through the Low or Dangerous Archipelago, and saw several of those most curious rings of coral land, just rising above the water’s edge, which have been called Lagoon Islands. A long and brilliantly white beach is capped by a margin of green vegetation; and the strip, looking either way, rapidly narrows away in the distance, and sinks beneath the horizon From the mast-head a wide expanse of smooth water can be seen within the ring. These low hollow coral islands bear no proportion to the vast ocean out of which they abruptly rise; and it seems wonderful, that such weak invaders are not overwhelmed, by the all-powerful and never-tiring waves of that great sea, miscalled the Pacific.

    Chapter 18 – Tahiti and New Zealand

  32. restlessoutlaw says:

    So, no worries “atoll”.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  33. Alexandre says:

    Are you implying that sea level is not rising?

  34. hunter says:

    Alexandre,
    Skeptics are pointing out that yet another AGW claim of doom- that the Pacific Islands are sinking into the ocean- is false.
    No serious skeptic questions that sea levels have been rising.
    Skeptics point out that slr is not occuring at dangerous or even unusual rates.
    This article supports the skeptical position.

  35. Streetcred says:

    Alexandre says: May 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm
    Are you implying that sea level is not rising?
    —————

    Do you have a problem with English language comprehension ? “The islands are growing” doesn’t equal the “sea level is not rising.”

  36. DirkH says:

    Alexandre says:
    May 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm
    “Are you implying that sea level is not rising?”

    Some corals can grow 28 cm a year vertically. See wikipedia. Coral islands are made of coral debris. The reef itself should have no problem at all growing as fast as current sea level rise speeds.

  37. Alexandre says:

    Hunter – I don’t think the article says that. Island growth due to “coral debris, land reclamation and sediment” does not refute SLR, or accelerated SLR, in any sense.

    Streetcred – Look, I’m not a native speaker… but when I said “implying” it does have a different meaning in the English language than saying your both sentences “equal”.

  38. Jimbo says:

    Alexandre says:
    May 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm
    Are you implying that sea level is not rising?

    You may not have been around these parts when this was first covered. Most sceptics know that sea level has been rising since the end of the last ice age and LIA. If you look at the Holocene graph you will see it has been flattening over the last few thousand years. The point about the coral island atolls (as observed by Darwin) is that most are able to keep up with the rate of sea level rise. I could be wrong here but I vaguely recall that those islands were colonized during the Roman Warm Period, a period warmer than the Modern Warm Period. But I could be wrong.

    The dynamic response of reef islands to sea-level rise: Evidence from multi-decadal analysis of island change in the Central Pacific
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921818110001013

    WUWT covered it here.

  39. tango says:

    the ABC will have its funding cut or maybe sold when the liberals kick labours arse after the election . BY BY ABC and all the global warming believers

  40. Jimbo says:

    Alexandre, some of the coral island atolls are in trouble due to human activities such as over fishing of beaked fish which create sand, blasting for shipping passages, over extraction of water from the lens, pollution, sand mining, coral extraction for the construction industry etc. The Maldives is building a new airport extension I think. [references]

    Here’s something you might be interested in too: In 2008 it was reported that Bangladesh has been gaining land mass for just over 3 decades according to satellite images. Amazing stuff eh?

  41. Christopher Hanley says:

    As a commenter on Bolt’s blog noted it’s postmodern, it’s post-normal science, the facts are irrelevant people, it’s the narrative.

  42. Leo G says:

    “The point about the coral island atolls (as observed by Darwin) is that most are able to keep up with the rate of sea level rise.” – Jimbo (May 16 at 2:54 pm)

    The tide gauge measurement for Kiribati, that don’t show threatening sea level rise, don’t detect that “accumulation” process. The island ‘grows’ with respect to the tide gauge.

  43. Jimbo says:

    It looks like, according to WikiLeaks, the Maldives were bribed by the American government to support their version of a global warming deal. I wonder whether Kiribati later became more interested due to promises?
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/dec/03/wikileaks-us-manipulated-climate-accord

  44. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Garrett says:
    May 16, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Hang on a minute. That ABC article is actually quite pessimistic about the problems related to sea-level rise:

    “Sea levels are obviously rising … the key problem is that sea level rise is likely to accelerate much beyond what we’ve seen in the 20th century. Naomi Thirobaux, from Kiribati, has studied the shape of Pacific islands for her PhD and says no-one should be lulled into thinking erosion and inundation is not taking its toll and displacing people from their land. “In a populated area what would happen was that if it’s eroding, a few metres would actually displace people,” she said.”

    Why didn’t you tackle that part of the news article?

    Umm … because it’s not true? There’s absolutely no indication that “sea level rise is likely to accelerate” That’s alarmist claptrap totally unsupported by the actual data.

    Also, as far as I can recall, Darwin never said that atolls “floated” with sea level rise. Atolls are anchored to the sea-bed. They were indeed formed by rising sea levels (or subsiding land levels), but on very, very long time scales.

    “Floating Atolls” is what is known as a “metaphor”, Garrett. It’s a symbolic use of words to emphasize a point. You and I and Darwin are all clear that they don’t actually float …

    I’m not sure anybody knows whether they can continue to follow sea level rise on a short time scale.

    Well, I happen to know whether they can continue to follow sea level rise, because I’ve watched them grow and I’ve had to clear them out of a channel that they were quickly blocking. In fact, scientific research shows they can leave sea level rise in the dust even if the rate doubles. From my paper on the subject:

    Coral growth rates have been measured at reported 280 mm/year in the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal (Sewell 1935), and 414 mm/year in the Celebes (Verstelle 1932).

    That’s over a foot per year. If the sea is rising faster than that, we have other problems.

    Finally, you still recognize that sea levels are rising, so what about the coastal areas that have nothing to do with atolls? How do you expect them to cope?

    Ummm … the same way that they coped with the same slow sea level rise over the last three centuries or so?

    w.

  45. thingodonta says:

    Why are they building lavish 5 star resorts over, on, and right in front of the water if the islands are all going under?

  46. Blade says:

    Gary Pearse [May 16, 2013 at 9:41 am] says:

    I’ve commented on these two issues several times in WUWT over the years (is there some way to search this?)

    Sure, go to Google.com and paste this ( bold part, include the quotes ) into the search field … site:wattsupwiththat.com “Gary Pearse says:” “sea level”

    Click the following link to automatically do exactly that … http://lmgtfy.com/?q=site%3Awattsupwiththat.com+%22Gary+Pearse+says%3A%22+%22sea+level%22

    Here is a shortened version of that link to click on in case something gets lost in WordPress … http://bit.ly/149LneS

    You can of course modify those search terms at will. For example modify or leave out the “sea level” part.

  47. Don K says:

    DirkH says:
    May 16, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    Alexandre says:
    May 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm
    “Are you implying that sea level is not rising?”

    Some corals can grow 28 cm a year vertically. See wikipedia. Coral islands are made of coral debris. The reef itself should have no problem at all growing as fast as current sea level rise speeds.

    ===========================================

    Dirk. For the most part, I think you are absolutely correct. And there’s abundant evidence to support your view.

    However, take a look at the image linked below which is an aerial view of Male, the capital of the Maldives. It’s a bit unclear how coral debris is supposed to accreate onto that particular rock. I think those folks may have a real problem if sea levels rise much. It doesn’t matter if one calls the problem sea level rise, or dubious land management, it’s likely a real problem and they may well have to address it. There are probably a few other places with similar problems.

    My understanding is that the inhabitants of the Maldives are rather extreme islamists, so they may wish to try prayer. Personally, I would suggest something more pro-active as well

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b4/Male-total.jpg

  48. Aussie Luke of Australiastan says:

    2 words: rent seekers

  49. johnmarshall says:

    Coral growth can out pace sea level rises. all coral islands will get larger in one way or another by sand formation, due to wave action, and storm berm building during storms. Currents move this sand around the island coastline depositing in various places so extending the area. This action varies with every island or island group.

  50. Galane says:

    “And as I and others have pointed out, the sea level scare is just another money making enterprise,”

    Must have something to do with reading this at 5:27 AM but I first read that as “another monkey making enterprise”.

  51. Randy Dutton says:

    Stopping the truth about the oceans not rising as claimed by global warmists is how I start my novel, The Carbon Trap.

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