657 new islands discovered by satellite imagery. Of course, they are immediately declared threatened by sea level rise

Chandeleur Islands - Image: Univ of Montana

From  LiveScience.com

Here’s something you don’t see every day — hundreds of new islands have been discovered around the world.

The Earth has 657 more barrier islands than previously thought, according to a new global survey by researchers from Duke University and Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C.

The researchers identified a total of 2,149 barrier islands worldwide using satellite images, topographical maps and navigational charts. The new total is significantly higher than the 1,492 islands identified in a 2001 survey conducted without the aid of publicly available satellite imagery.

Barrier islands often form as chains of long, low, narrow offshore deposits of sand and sediment, running parallel to a coast but separated from it by bays, estuaries or lagoons. Unlike stationary landforms, barrier islands build up, erode, migrate and rebuild over time in response to waves, tides, currents and other physical processes in the open ocean environment.

All told, the world’s barrier islands measure about 13,000 miles (21,000 kilometers) in length. They are found along all continents except Antarctica and in all oceans, and they make up roughly 10 percent of the Earth’s continental shorelines. The northern hemisphere is home to 74 percent of these islands.

Barrier islands help protect low-lying mainland coasts against erosion and storm damage, and can be important wildlife habitats. The nation with the most barrier islands is the United States, with 405, including those along the Alaskan Arctic shoreline.

“This provides proof that barrier islands exist in every climate and in every tide-wave combination,” said study team member Orrin H. Pilkey of Duke University. “We found that everywhere there is a flat piece of land next to the coast, a reasonable supply of sand, enough waves to move sand or sediment about, and a recent sea-level rise that caused a crooked shoreline, barrier islands exist.”

There, but overlooked

The newly identified barrier islands didn’t miraculously appear in the last decade, said study team member Matthew L. Stutz of Meredith. They’ve long existed but were overlooked or misclassified in past surveys.

Full story here

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Darkened areas show where barriers islands exist. Global distribution of significant barrier island chains. Extensive chains not included in previous distribution surveys are found in Brazil, Madagascar, and Australia. From the Journal of Coastal Research

Here’s the full paper:

HTML and as PDF

Abstract:

Open-Ocean Barrier Islands: Global Influence of Climatic, Oceanographic, and Depositional Settings

Matthew L. Stutz and Orrin H. Pilkey Meredith College, Department of Chemistry, Physics, and Geoscience, 3800 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27607, U.S.A. stutzmat@meredith.edu

Duke University, Box 90228, Division of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Nicholas School of Environment and Earth Sciences, Durham, NC 27708, U.S.A

A satellite-based inventory of barrier islands was used to study the influence of depositional setting, climate, and tide regime on island distribution and morphology. The survey reveals 20,783 km of shoreline occupied by 2149 barrier islands worldwide. Their distribution is strongly related to sea level history in addition to the influence of tectonic setting. Rising sea level in the late Holocene (5000 YBP–present) is associated with greatest island abundance, especially on North Atlantic and Arctic coastal plains. Stable or falling sea level in the same time frame, a pattern typical of the Southern Hemisphere, is associated with a lower abundance of islands and a higher percentage of islands along deltas rather than coastal plains. Both coastal plain and deltaic island morphology are sensitive to the wave–tide regime; however, island length is 40% greater along coastal plains whereas inlet width is 40% greater on deltas. Island morphology is also fundamentally affected by climate. Island lengths in the Arctic are on average (5 km) only half the global average (10 km) because of the effect of sea ice on fetch and thus wave energy. Storm frequency in the high and middle latitudes is suggested to result in shorter and narrower islands relative to those on swell-dominated low-latitude coasts. The ratio of storm wave height to annual mean wave height is a good indicator of the degree of storm influence on island evolution. The potential for significant climate and sea level change this century underscores the need to improve understanding of the fundamental roles that these two factors have played historically in island evolution in order to predict their future impacts on the islands.

CONCLUSION

A New Classification of Barrier Islands?A useful and efficient global classification of barrier islands does not yet exist. However, global distribution and morphologic patterns do emerge from a broad-based investigation. In particular, the influence of sea level rise and storm impacts on barrier island distribution and morphology can perhaps be more appreciated than before.It is clear that no simple hierarchical relationship exists among the factors that influence barrier island distribution and morphology. It is more apparent that any single factor may be most influential in a given setting and more useful as a basis for describing variability between islands. For example, locations such as south Texas have extreme climatic gradients but little change in the oceanographic regime. In other settings, such as the Georgia Bight and German Bight, there are substantial gradients in the wave–tide regime but little climatic variability (Hayes, 1979).

Our examination of barrier island distribution shows that whether barrier islands can exist or not exist in a particular place is mostly determined by the history of tectonics and sea level changes. As is true for most geologic processes, inheritance plays a crucial role. Within these constraints, barrier islands will form most preferentially along low-gradient coastal plains under rising sea level, with deltaic island abundance greatest along higher-gradient coasts experiencing falling sea level. The varying roles of marine vs. fluvial processes on coastal plains and deltas result in fundamentally different island morphologies at the global scale. Islands will form virtually anywhere if the sediment supply is favorable, even given low energy levels. The greatest influence on sediment supply—both quantity and quality—is the climate (Milliman and Meade, 1983). The relative roles of storms vs. swells can determine the typical morphologic features present on islands, and the dominant vegetation can significantly influence island evolution. Within a given tectonic and climate setting, the balance of wave and tidal energy can account for much of the variability in island morphology and evolution, although more clearly in coastal plain island systems.

There does not appear to be a clear prototype island for each division and subdivision. However, the influence of the lowest-level factors on barrier island evolution can be most accurately analyzed when the higher-level factors are understood and accounted for. The high-order factors of sea level and climate are likely to experience dramatic change in this century, signaling a potential large-scale response of barrier islands worldwide. The most climatically sensitive barrier islands, in the Arctic, will likely experience the most dramatic climate change and the most severe impacts. The combined roles of climate and sea level rise in barrier island evolution need to be better understood in all regions to improve predictions about the impacts of future sea level and climate change.

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Just a reminder…

From the same journal, this interesting study:

Bombshell conclusion – new peer reviewed analysis: “worldwide-temperature increase has not produced acceleration of global sea level over the past 100 years”

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42 thoughts on “657 new islands discovered by satellite imagery. Of course, they are immediately declared threatened by sea level rise

  1. “657 new islands discovered by satellite imagery. Of course, they are immediately declared threatened by sea level rise”
    Minor depression vibe is lame. Are the islands for sale? I want to be James Bond. I want kids to be happy again. New Island? That’s NOT a sad story. That’s just FUN.

  2. “The combined roles of climate and sea level rise in barrier island evolution need to be better understood in all regions to improve predictions about the impacts of future sea level and climate change”
    Translation = Send more money so we can write a model for it.
    ZZZzzzzzz

  3. If barrier islands are more common in areas of rising sea level, how do they conclude that these new found islands are under threat from climate change? Unless they are expecting sea level to start falling soon?

  4. Barrier islands need a sediment supply. This will come mainly from sediment laden rivers discharging into the sea. These islands are ephemeral in geological time, at the whim of every storm.

  5. Are not the processes that form these islands such that the height of the island is relative to the height of the sea, so they should follow the sea-level?

  6. Funny!
    Then why arent they discovered until now? Newly risen or uncowered is a more logic assumption than the opposit. Climate science really is a big joke and I feel sorry for the scientist in the field who tries to be professional and honest. They dissapear in the bulk of the unprofessional ones.

  7. The peer reviewers should be given knowledge of the source of funding for the studies they review. It seems the words “climate” and “change” are the secret code of grantsmanship. Nowadays, when i see those keywords i tend to dismiss the entire work as biased.

  8. Presumably as no one noticed them before then they are new islands recently exposed by rising sea levels? It’s all too confusing.

  9. You are too late Mr NikFromNYC. I am already here. And I have a large, white, fluffy cat.

  10. Am I just being plain difficult?

    “Rising sea level in the late Holocene (5000 YBP–present) is associated with greatest island abundance, especially on North Atlantic and Arctic coastal plains.”

    and………….

    “The newly identified barrier islands didn’t miraculously appear in the last decade, said study team member Matthew L. Stutz of Meredith. They’ve long existed but were overlooked or misclassified in past surveys.”

    See also “The dynamic response of reef islands to sea-level rise”
    The more money angle.

    “The potential for significant climate and sea level change this century underscores the need to improve understanding of the fundamental roles that these two factors have played historically in island evolution in order to predict their future impacts on the islands.”

  11. From the same journal we have some potentially bad news:

    “The most climatically sensitive barrier islands, in the Arctic, will likely experience the most dramatic climate change and the most severe impacts. ”
    http://www.jcronline.org/doi/full/10.2112/09-1190.1

    From the same journal we have some good news:

    “To compare these results with worldwide data, we extend the analysis of Douglas (1992) by an additional 25 years and analyze revised data of Church and White (2006) from 1930 to 2007 and also obtain small sea-level decelerations similar to those we obtain from U.S. gauge records.”
    http://www.jcronline.org/doi/abs/10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-10-00157.1

  12. Anthony,
    Have you ever wondered why this planet has not lost a single molecule of water in 4.5 billion years?
    Many times our influence has been bought for a certain outcome. Be it politicians, scientists(through discoveries or opinions), manufacturers or scam artists. The results trying to be achieved is influence and many cases a following.
    There has been a great deal in science that has made me scratch my head at “how did they come to this conclusion?”
    I have done a great deal of research into Ice Ages and what was before that. So far ALL the research is pointing that this planet had at least 10 times more water volume of oceans.
    Why was there no plant and animal life before 500 million years ago out of 4.5 billion? Why does carbon dating give us different time lines in rocks being formed? You cannot carbon date objects that were not being exposed to air. Our ocean core sample dating is through the accumulation of H2 18 O in the shells of animals that have died.
    The conclusion of Ice Ages shaping our landscape and making rock is very faulty as the pound per square inch of ice is too light to that of the same volume of water. Why is that? Water collapses on itself to a point in a cone shape making pressure. Ice is too porous and objects melted around it will NOT feel any pressure.
    Take sand. Abundant all around this planet on the surface and in the oceans but how was sand made? Theory is through water hammering rocks over the billions or rainwater. I have yet to see rain create a grain of sand unless it is on a rock already compressed from sand.
    But, volcanic activity creates porous rocks under immense pressure these can implode due to pressure and trapped gases. Some very old volcanic rock is highly compressed and not porous like today’s volcanoes, why?
    I’m still researching this line of inquiry. The creation of a planet is tricky with centrifugal force unless the planet is cooled quickly and generate a shell to stop the loss of mass.

  13. These kinds of stories just serve to show how desperate the warmists are to keep the scam going. This is kitchen-sinkism: since all of the main arguments and “proofs” have failed, and since they’ve already lost the battle of public opinion, they are now scouring the world for every obscure fantasy that they can come up with and claim “see?? It’s True, it’s True!!!!” It’s just political sloganeering, and for that it’s *better* to use obscure claims that will take a long time to disprove. This is SoundBite advocacy, no one pushing this actually cares about the numbers.
    This is nothing but a political campaign – it has nothing to do with science.
    We can complain about how science has been politicized, but too late – we can’t change that. It’s happened. It has to be responded to on that level.

  14. one more case of baseline “facts” needing to be adjusted based on observation data. You get the distinct impression that an awful lot of “researchers” in the past didn’t do much data gathering but alot of computer modeling …
    next we’ll find the glacier count is way off as well …

  15. Why mention that Hansen has a “rap sheet?” Classic ad hom and it only succeeds in making WUWT look petty. And we all know it is not. So why sink to their level?
    God knows, there’s enough in the way of bad science and preposterous predictions to keep everyone busy til the next ice age.
    Why not just stick with that?

  16. What are the impacts of underwater geologic forces on sea level? Do underwater volcanic eruptions add enough material at the bottom of the oceans to increase sea level? Does sea floor spreading have an impact?

  17. hi pokerguy
    I think the rap sheet comment (or at least I hope) is a bit tongue in cheek – really its a way of identifying that Hansen is not just an activist, but an Activist, if you see what I mean. Anyway, you’re probably right. Best to take the moral high ground and all that 🙂
    All the best all,
    RB

  18. Joe Lalonde says:
    April 21, 2011 at 5:14 am
    Anthony,
    Have you ever wondered why this planet has not lost a single molecule of water in 4.5 billion years?
    Joe, this question contains an idea that is not possible to validate one way or another. Your statement about no plants or animals before 500 MYA is not correct depending on what you classify as plant and animal. There are many single cell life forms that go back billions of years.
    Glaciers do shape our landscape but not by making rocks, they grind big rocks into little rocks. Most “U” shaped valleys are suspected of being formed by glaciers. So ice ages do have a large impact on landscape. Try isostatic rebound.

  19. mkelly says:
    April 21, 2011 at 8:07 am
    Joe Lalonde says:
    April 21, 2011 at 5:14 am
    Anthony,
    Have you ever wondered why this planet has not lost a single molecule of water in 4.5 billion years?
    Joe, this question contains an idea that is not possible to validate one way or another.

    I can invalidate the premise of that question rather easily. I know for an absolute fact that I have PERSONALLY destroyed many millions, perhaps even billions, of molecules of water. And you don’t have to rely on my word – this is verifiable by experiment. All it requires is some water, salt, batteries, and wire.

  20. Seems to me that these spits of land are very mobile. In other words, we know the sea level has been higher in the past. Yet here the islands sit. So I suspect even if the sea level were to rise by a gazillion feet, they would just move with the tide.
    In other words, long after we are gone, they will be around.

  21. Better detection better quantification. Just like any new “record” plus or minus,
    is “unprecedented” -better technology, period.

  22. Clearly, you are failing to put on your Post Normal Science Goggles to view this problem properly.
    Black is white.
    Warming causes blizzards.
    Rising ocean levels create islands.
    THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED.
    (yes, /sarc)

  23. I wonder how many islands were lost when the last ice age ended?
    Given that the sea level has been rising slowly from the last ice age, I’m sure that lots of islands are now under water that weren’t under water 10,000 years ago, but that fact is NOT important because the alarmists can’t cry AGW lost those islands!!!

  24. So when they counted all these new barrier islands did they subtract these artificial ones as they slide back under ? 
    The World is sinking: Dubai islands ‘falling into the sea’
    “The islands were intended as the ultimate luxury possession, even for Dubai.
    But the World, the ambitiously-constructed archipelago of islands shaped like the countries of the globe, is sinking back into the sea, according to evidence cited before a property tribunal.
    The islands were intended to be developed with tailor-made hotel complexes and luxury villas, and sold to millionaires. They are off the coast of Dubai and accessible by yacht or motor boat.
    Now their sands are eroding and the navigational channels between them are silting up, the British lawyer for a company bringing a case against the state-run developer, Nakheel, has told judges.
    “The islands are gradually falling back into the sea,” Richard Wilmot-Smith QC, for Penguin Marine, said. The evidence showed “erosion and deterioration of The World islands”, he added.”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/dubai/8271643/The-World-is-sinking-Dubai-islands-falling-into-the-sea.html
    Chrs JJ

  25. @Joe Lalonde says:
    “Have you ever wondered why this planet has not lost a single molecule of water in 4.5 billion years?”
    I’m sorry to be the one to have to point out the facts but, apparently, via satellites, and an outdated, well ok two, one decommissioned, space stations, we, as in the human specie, have the data, spelled as evidence, that our tiny little speck of blue for a planet is loosing a lot of molecules 24/7 and water molecules are just a tiny part of that loss.
    Apparently, viewing earth from the side, so to speak, through colorful corrected filters, there’d be a blue streak streaking behind “gay” gaia. But, of course, you have to be a sane rational person, aka a climate denier, to acknowledge, apparent, simple, observations, even from modeled contraptions such as tin foiled wrapped satellites.

  26. “…and a recent sea-level rise that caused a crooked shoreline, …”
    Wonder where the data is to support that particular gem!!

  27. Such a travesty.
    Mapping barrier islands (a never-ending task, as they constantly form, disappear and change) is a worthwhile exercise for those of us who are interested in how the world works. Studying the hows and whys, ditto.
    The barrier islands off Louisiana alone would probably give a curious and enthusiastic person a lifetime’s worth of interesting and useful work.
    Reading this ‘study’ requires earmuffs to block the sound of data being tortured. I would have thought that undertaking better mapping and identification of barrier islands, and pulling together what is known about their lifecycles, is a worthwhile exercise in its own right. Why, oh why, do they debase it by trying to jump on the Climate Alarmism bandwagon?

  28. Anthony,
    Okay guys,
    A little simple detective work.
    Salt has to be refined due to the tiny oceanic organisms that are trapped in the salt.
    Where is the OLDEST salt mine?
    What is the land height of this mine?

  29. Anthony,
    I forgot to mention that this salt mine is carbon dated at only 1 billion years old.

  30. Anthony,
    Who was the “nut bar” that proposed the oceans had to rise every Ice Age?
    Was it the consensus of scientists again?
    If anything, they have to fall for evaporation to pick up enough mass for the great amounts of snow and ice that they are to produce.
    Magic is not an option.

  31. Can I poke at the troll with blunt objects? Can I please?
    Here, troll. http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/content/latest-questions/question/2321/
    And in case you’re too lazy to follow through to the site:
    1. Escape is hard.
    a. Theoretically, any gaseous molecule could escape the atmosphere into space.
    i. Said molecule would need to have sufficiently high velocity.
    ii. Said molecule would need to be sufficiently light to escape gravity.
    b. The speed of a gaseous particle is a function of temperature.
    c. Temperatures at the altitudes where a water molecule has any chance of escape are far too low for the speed necessary. In fact, at these temperatures, water molecules condense, and eventually return to earth as rain or snow.
    2. Water is replenished back to the surface through hydrological events (volcanic eruptions, which spew ash and steam).
    Conclusion: The occassional water molecule might be wandering off into space, but it is at a rate far slower than subsurface water is returned to the surface.
    Conlcusion for Dummies: We aren’t running out of water. Ever.

  32. Joe LaLonde;
    Pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee……..
    Stop posting and go take a basic degree in geology. I’m sure you mean well but your comments demonstrate a total lack of even the most basic knowledge of science and geological, hydrological, on and on basic science. They reflect poorly on what is generally a well reasoned web site. They give ammunition to AGW extremists trying to discredit this site. PS You cannot `carbon date’ anything that is 1 B years old. The amount of C14 remaining after about 40 to 50 K years cannot be detected – separated from background even in labs burried under ground and heavily shielded. Also, raw rock salt is mined, obvious impurities removed and ground to make common table salt. In solution mining water is pumped into underground salt deposits where it dissolves the salt, and without going into a detailed explanation is more or less simply recovered from the brine. Your other errors and incorrect assumptions would require 50 pages to correct.

  33. Oceans do not rise during an ice age. No scientists suggests that is the case. Sea level falls as water is trapped on land in the glaciers. The exact placement of `relative’ sea level varies greatly on a regional basis depending on numerous factors such as proximity to the ice, local isostatic coupled with eustatic effects….. on and on….. pleaseeeeeeee!

  34. Kuhnkat;
    When sea levels are stable for geologically long periods of time geomorphological processes erode the shore face to a point where the shore face reaches a form where the shore face is in near equilibrium. This produces shoreline profiles perpendicular to the shore face that have a very low slope, gently dipping seaward with wide, well developed erosional ramps. Parallel to the shoreline, the shoreline becomes a series of gently curving, arcuate segments, again a equilibrium shape. With what is, geologically speaking, a rapid rise in sea level since deglaciation, there are very few examples of this world wide. Most shorelines have not had time to reach equilibrium. However, relict shorelines relating to the last Sangamon Interglacial give reasonable validity to this. But of coarse, it is a theory and it will change over time as almost all theories do… that is science. Many shorelines, e.g the Atlantic US, Maritime Canada , etc are actually `drowned shorelines. These areas are underwater now, but were dry land up to about 18,000 C14 years BP. There are places such as Squally Point on the western most tip of the Chignecto Peninsula, Bay of Funday Canada where one finds a beach 100 feet plus above sea level. It was formed as the Main Laurentide ice sheat retreated, followed by retreat of the Escuminac Ice Dome sitting over northern Prince Edward Island in the Gulf of St. Leuarence. Late ice sitting on the Cobequid Highlands during late stage deglaciation where local ice caps became dominant, kept the land from regionally rebounding. Thus the ocean reached that area while it was still depressed forming the beach. With subsequent melting of the local ice the area was able to rapidly rebounding leaving the beach high and dry. The are is now sinking again as the peripheral bulge from the Laurentice sheet has now migrated north of the area and as such the are is subsiding down the back of the bulge. Older marine platforms 5 – 7 m above present HHWL are found along the Gulf of St Laurence and Cape Breton Island. They are Sangamon in age.

  35. reason,
    I have a time line from carbon dating.
    I have a height from sea level and I have a place of origin.
    It all points to the height of ocean water level at one billion years ago.
    So, these are physical facts and not any theory.

  36. “Joe Lalonde says:
    April 22, 2011 at 4:01 am
    Anthony,
    I forgot to mention that this salt mine is carbon dated at only 1 billion years old.”
    To add to what Philip Finck said above, the half life of carbon-14 is 5730 years. So after about 10 half lives, no carbon-14 is left. Carbon-14 dating has many problems. First, the carbon 14 dating method measures the time since a living organism has died. Thus, it is useless for measuring anything that has never been alive, such as a rock. Second, compared with many other radiometric elements, carbon 14 decays
    quickly. It is useless for dating anything older than about 50,000 years. Third, because carbon 14 forms from cosmic ray bombardment of nitrogen 14 (and decays back into nitrogen 14 through the release of beta particles, i.e., electrons) the effect of variations in cosmic radiation intensity (caused by altitude, depth below the earth’s surface, and astronomical events) can be difficult to calibrate. Fourth, a specimen’s contamination by carbon from surrounding soil, water, vegetation, and animal matter can seriously undermine accuracy of tests on a given sample. Fifth, the release of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning significantly dilutes carbon 14, and researchers have no accurate way to calibrate this dilution factor.
    To date something a billion years old requires other radioactive substances with much larger half lives.

  37. Werner,
    Sea salt has trapped ocean life, are they not carbon based?
    Salt does NOT spontaneously appear. It is made from the ocean. Some tribes make salt from drying this in pools. There are many salt deposits in the world. Where did they not come from if the oceans were not much higher?
    Anthony,
    People have been brainwashed way too long not to be able to think for themselves and ask questions.

  38. “Joe Lalonde says:
    April 23, 2011 at 4:13 am
    Werner,
    Sea salt has trapped ocean life, are they not carbon based?”
    I forgot to mention that this salt mine is carbon dated at only 1 billion years old.”
    Yes, ocean life is carbon based. Dinosaurs are also carbon based. Dinosaur bones have no carbon 14 in them. That means that dinosaurs died AT LEAST 50,000 years ago. If ocean life or dinosaurs have no carbon 14, all you can say is that they died more than 50,000 years ago. To conclude dinosaurs or a salt mine is “only 1 billion years old”, you CANNOT use carbon-14. But you CAN use other things like uranium-235 whose half life is 700 million years.

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