"Five Pacific islands vanish from sight as sea levels rise"

Guest post by David Middleton

I was going to debunk this bit of nonsense from New Scientist, but it never identifies the vanishing islands and kind of debunks itself…


Going, going, gone. Five of the Solomon Islands have been swallowed whole by rising sea levels, offering a glimpse into the future of other low-lying nations.

Sea levels in the Solomon Islands have been climbing by 7 millimetres per year over the last two decades, due to a double whammy of global warming and stronger trade winds.

“It’s a perfect storm,” says Simon Albert of the University of Queensland. “There’s the background level of global sea-level rise, and then the added pressure of a natural trade wind cycle that has been physically pushing water into the Western Pacific.”

The global rate of sea level rise is 3 millimetres per year, but is likely to accelerate to 7 by the end of the century, as rising temperatures melt ice sheets and cause thermal expansion of the oceans, Albert says.

“All the projections show that in the second half of the century, the rest of the globe will reach the rate of sea level rise that the Solomon Islands is currently experiencing,” he says.

Albert and his colleagues analysed aerial and satellite images from 1947 to 2014 to study the effects of creeping sea levels on the coastlines of 33 reef islands in the Solomons.

Five islands present in 1947, ranging in size from 1 to 5 hectares, had completely disappeared by 2014.

Another six islands had shrunk by 20 to 62 per cent in the same period, confirming anecdotal reports of people living in the area.


New Scientist

Hoping to find out which islands had vanished, I clicked this link: of creeping sea levels on the coastlines



Rising seas are eating away at small islands and will eventually turn their inhabitants into climate refugees, right? Not so for some of the world’s most threatened islands, which have grown despite experiencing dramatic sea level rise.

Funafuti atoll, which includes the capital of Tuvalu, is an islet archipelago in the tropical Pacific Ocean made from coral debris washed up from an underlying reef by waves, winds and currents. Over the past 60 years the sea has risen by around 30 centimetres locally,sparking warnings that the atoll is set to disappear.

But Paul Kench of the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and colleagues found no evidence of heightened erosion. After poring over more than a century’s worth of data, including old maps and aerial and satellite imagery, they conclude that 18 out of 29 islands have actually grown.

As a whole, the group grew by more than 18 hectares, while many islands changed shape or shifted sideways.

“There is still considerable speculation that islands will disappear as sea level rises,” says Kench. “Our data indicates that the future of islands is significantly different.”

Storms and other disturbances that churn up the sea seem to be more important than sea level in influencing stability, says Kench. Storms break up coral, which then gets deposited on the atolls. He says other coral reef islands are likely to evolve in the same way, and that the Maldives seem to be showing a similar effect.

“There is presently no evidence that these islands are going to sink,” says Virginie Duvat of the University of La Rochelle in France. She says that she and other researchers are trying to fight the widespread misconception that sea level rise will mean the end for atolls. However, Kench’s findings do not apply to other types of island, like the volcanic main islands of Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.


New Scientist

Having lost patience for finding the lost islands, I moved on to the 7 mm/yr bit.


Does this look like 7 mm/yr?  Let’s check.

I get 6 mm/yr with R² = 0.2.  A trend of less than 1 cm/yr with a cyclical variation of nearly 50 cm… Not exactly a robust trend.



Any islands vulnerable to 6 mm/yr of sea level rise would have already been vanishing during most El Niño episodes.

Then I moved on to the moronic claim that sea level “is likely to accelerate to 7 (mm/yr) by the end of the century…


A massive rise in sea level is coming, and it will trigger climate chaos around the world. That was the message from acontroversial recent paper by climate scientist James Hansen. It was slated by many for assuming – rather than showing – that sea level could rise between 1 and 5 metres by 2100.

But now, just a week after being formally published, it is being backed up by another study. “He was speculating on massive fresh water discharge to the ocean that I don’t think anybody thought was possible before,” says Rob DeConto of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “Now we’re publishing a paper that says these rates of fresh water input are possible.”


New Scientist


This idiotic claim is based on RCP 8.5.  It is not a “likely” case.  It is a “worst possible” case based on practically impossible assumptions.

Oh Noes!!! Sea Level Rise to Double… Again!

RCP 8.5: The “Mother of all” Junk Climate Science

RCP 8.5, Part Deux: “The stuff nightmares are made from.”


I finally did manage to find the five sunken islands.  CNN had a link to the ERL paper.


Looks like this post will have a sequel.

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Chad Irby
May 13, 2016 6:05 am

They were “reef islands” that disappeared sometime between 2010 and 2014.
In other words, the five islands were big sandbars that washed away when a hurricane hit in 2012.
Five islands, incidentally, out of the ten thousand in the Solomons…

lyn roberts
Reply to  Chad Irby
May 13, 2016 3:17 pm

Chad – agree with you, there.
My question is how many islands formed in the Solomons, otherwise the so called study is worthless, in a accurate study you have to demonstrate both side of the argument I believe. Isn’t it called double blind.
Cherry picking once more.
Also my question being a Kiwi, and having some understanding of constant earthquakes is how much are they affecting the sand movement, with small tsunami’s, rising and lowering of even small islands.
I once years ago had to demonstrate to my work colleagues that water does not stay in a pile but finds its own level, they pushed me toooo far with global sea level rises, and telling me I was the idiot, subject never came up again after that demonstration.

Reply to  Chad Irby
May 14, 2016 5:29 am

why did the coral islands not disappear at the end of the last ice age, 10-20 years ago, when sea levels rose much more rapidly than today?
all the coral islands have an underwater shelf, a couple of hundred feet down, that marks the low water mark of the oceans during the last ice age. if the nonsense about sea level rise and coral atolls was correct, that would be where we would find the top of all coral islands.
But we don’t. Instead they coral islands have grown to match the sea level rise.
What most people don’t realize is that coral atolls are the remnants of volcanic islands that have sunk largely due to erosion, and their own massive weight deforming the sea floor. All that is left is the coral that continues to grow upwards as the original island has sunk out of sight.
We lived on Tonga for a year, and it is just such an island, but still in the early stages. A massive volcano, about 500 miles across at its peak, which is miles above the base on the ocean floor.
All that is left is 3 widely spaced, small island groups still above water. The whole mass is slowly sinking under its own weight. The middle island group was still an active volcano, when we sailed by some 30 years ago. In millions of years, depending on volcanic activity, all that will be left will be the corals.

Reply to  ferdberple
May 14, 2016 5:30 am

typo: 10-20 thousand years ago

Tom Halla
May 13, 2016 6:12 am

Aren’t the Solomons in a geologically active zone, with subduction? Calling it sea level rise seems rather to miss the point.

Reply to  David Middleton
May 13, 2016 10:57 am

If I read the maps correctly, the Solomon Islands are not adjacent to the South Bismarck plate. I believe that is the island of New Britain which is part of Papua New Guinea (although these plates are overlapping)
These islands are on the Pacific Side of the boundary between the large Pacific Plate and the smaller Woodlark and Australian plates.
That being said, these islands are not on the subduction side of the plate. The more significant issues is the changes in ocean currents around these islands.

Reply to  Tom Halla
May 13, 2016 7:29 am

The issue of this study is that they assumed the only changes was sea level in an area exposed to “high wave-energy”. There are other, more likely explanations for the island erosion.
In this case (as the chart points out), the sea level rise is a natural side effect of El Nino and La Nina weather patterns. You can see the very strong El Nino in 1998 which dropped sea level (and is currently undergoing similar drop.) The authors are not claiming that the sea level change is related to climate change.
My opinion is that the statements of his abstract is still not supported by the paper,
His abstract says: “Low-lying reef islands in the Solomon Islands provide a valuable window into the future impacts of global sea-level rise. … Rates of shoreline recession are substantially higher in areas exposed to high wave energy, indicating a synergistic interaction between sea-level rise and waves.”
There is no “valuable window” for “global sea level rise.” Even without the tectonic changes, the ocean current (direction and speed) shifts during El Nino compared to La Nina. This is the area of the world affected more than any other during such shifts. It is in no way comparable to the effects of rising sea levels absent those shifts in ocean currents. This area also experiences chronic tectonic activity — 270 in the past year alone. (http://earthquaketrack.com/p/solomon-islands/recent). According to IRIS (who have a great video of these islands), these plates move “at a rate of ~6 cm/year with variation along the boundaries up to 13 cm/year.” at a rate of ~6 cm/year with variation along the boundaries up to 13 cm/year.
The study brackets data from several different time periods. The authors developed estimates for island size based on aerial photographs taken in 1947 and 1962 and compares them to satellite images taken in 2002 and 2011 or 2014. Most of the reduction in island size occurs between 2002 & 2011/2014.
Almost all of the changes measured occur in one group of islands (the Santa Isabel barrier islands). These islands are among the furthest away from the tectonic plates. The other islands in the Roviana are on the ridge which is on the opposite side of the fault from the subduction zone (i.e. the would likely rise during an earthquake.) The islands in the study are not on the actual ridge, but down the slope from the ridge.
The largest recent earthquake of note occurred in 2007. Rainongga Island is on the ridge northwest of Roviana. It rose 10 feet during that earthquake which triggered a massive tsunami.
It seems like a logical assumption that such activity would change ocean currents in that area. A study such as this one would need to understand these shifts in ocean currents before concluding that the changes were due to sea level rise.

Stephen Skinner
Reply to  lorcanbonda
May 13, 2016 9:48 am

lorcanbonda May 13, 2016 at 7:29 am
Very interesting points but you also say: “This area also experiences chronic tectonic activity”. The word ‘chronic’ usually applies to the human condition and I think this implies that tectonic activity is bad. It might be bad for those who choose to live in this area but nothing that nature does is bad in itself, surely?

Reply to  lorcanbonda
May 13, 2016 10:48 am

No — I meant to say that tectonic activity occurs almost daily. I don’t know of a better word to represent that.

Reply to  lorcanbonda
May 13, 2016 10:54 am

“The other islands in the Roviana are on the ridge which is on the opposite side of the fault from the subduction zone (i.e. the would likely rise during an earthquake.)”
Subduction dynamics are a bit more complicated than that. The Roviana area actually sank quite substantially during both the 2007 and 2010 earthquakes:
But the islands survived. Making it even more obvious that relative sealevel has little or nothing to do with the “disappearing” islands

Reply to  lorcanbonda
May 13, 2016 11:11 am

tty — I’m aware that dynamics are more complicated. Even on the ridge side, the land ripples. Roviana is almost at the juncture between the Woodlark plate and Australian plate which moved in different directions. I was looking for an elevation map before and after the earthquakes, but could not find one. These references are helpful.
It doesn’t look like Roviana moved much in 2010 (the data is centered more around Rendova), but it 2007 it was right in that trough having sank ~0.5 meters.

Stephen Skinner
Reply to  lorcanbonda
May 13, 2016 2:25 pm

lorcanbonda May 13, 2016 at 10:48 am
OK. Fair point. I’m just over sensitive to the use of dramatic or emotive words for quantifying nature, that’s all.

Reply to  lorcanbonda
May 13, 2016 8:45 pm

“Chronic” is not specific to human conditions and its root suggests nothing of the sort. Chronic comes from the Greek word pronounced “chronos”, which is time, and means that something persists through time, and that is all it means. Chronic is an adjective used in conjunction with nouns describing a condition. Chronic is not in itself the condition, but a property of the condition being referenced. Example; humans can suffer from chronic PAIN, not from :”chronic”. It is perfectly correct to use the adjective in reference to any condition, whether it be of a human or otherwise. Just because it is commonly used in reference to human conditions does not make it specific to humans.

Reply to  lorcanbonda
May 13, 2016 8:54 pm

…nor is the word, “chronic”, an emotive term. It is a clear, well defined term used to describe a temporal property of its associated noun, that the noun of interest does not refer to something ephemeral but persistent.

Reply to  lorcanbonda
May 14, 2016 5:44 am

nothing that nature does is bad in itself, surely?
humans are part of nature.
the oxygen that plants produce is deadly to some forms of bacteria. in that respect plants are bad for some bacteria. except for those creatures that produce CO2, plants would eventually poison themselves by removing all the CO2 from the atmosphere, which would result in permanent ice ages according to the beliefs of some climate scientists.
so in that respect, human activity could be considered good, in that fossil fuel burning is helping prevent the next ice age, which would be bad for large number of plants and animals.
and the misguided actions of governments and environmentalists are bad, in that they are trying to prevent the very warming that would prevent the next ice. the next ice age would of course mark the end of human civilization as we know it.
the next ice age, which is a certainty to occur, will wipe large numbers of major cities, and render large portions of the globe uninhabitable for tens of thousands of years. In this respect, it is natures equivalent of nuclear war involving many thousands of hydrogen bombs.

May 13, 2016 6:21 am

From Figure 1 of the actual “study”:
Map of study sites.(a) Map of the Solomon Islands relative to south Pacific region indicating study sites(•) in Choiseul
(Nuatambu), Malaita (Mararo) and Isabel Provinces, (b) inset of study sites across northern Isabel. Sites from east to west: 1. Rehana,
2. Zollies, 3. Sogomou, 4. Sogomou ite, 5. Sogomou Fa, 6. Kumarara, 7. Sasahura Fa, 8. Sasahura ite, 9. Golora, 10. Retu, 11. Hetaheta,
12. Kakatina, 13. Rapita, 14. Kukudaka, 15. Kale, 16. Korapagho, 17. Kologhose, 18. Ghebira, 19. Bates, 20. Suki, (c)inset of study sites
in Roviana. Sites from east to west: 22. Piraka, 23. Nusa Ghele, 24. Pukuni, 25. Ovio, 26. Varilangge, 27. Ighisi, 28. Panao, 29.
Homhombu, 30. Hopei, 31. Kunkundu Hite, 32. Kunkundu Nomana, 33. Nusa Lavata.
From Table 1:
Site 1947 1962 2002 2011 2014 Area lost since 1947 (m2) Overall loss(%)
Kale 48 890 43 070 12 572 509 0 48 890 100
Rapita 45 700 21 250 0 0 0 45 700 100
Rehana 38 330 21 800 0 0 0 38 330 100
Kakatina 15 150 3580 nd 0 0 15 150 100
Zollies 12 240 4980 0 0 0 12 240 100
The 5 “islands” are: Kale, Rapita, Rehana, Kaktina, and Zollies
I can send you a .pdf of the paper if needed.

Reply to  David Middleton
May 13, 2016 7:19 am

In Doug’s defense, the phrase “having lost patience for finding the lost islands” led me to the same inference on light reading that you couldn’t figure out which islands they were.
It wouldn’t be the first time we couldn’t substantiate the claims of headlines.

Reply to  David Middleton
May 13, 2016 11:45 am

I read the whole thing and was surprised when you got to the end before you announced that you read the paper and found the islands, especially since you started by criticizing the journalist for not including the
detail in his article.
In other words. you start by blasting the writer for not including the detail.
You grow tired of looking for it yourself.
You finally reveal at the end that you did what any scientist would do BEFORE putting pen to paper: you read the science.
Then you abuse a commenter who tries to help by fishing out the details.
Next time, read the paper FIRST and then write one post rather than this stream of conciousness ‘watch me while I flail around trying to audit a paper’

Reply to  David Middleton
May 14, 2016 8:13 am

David. Your piece is actually worse than the new scientiSt piece

Reply to  Dougmanxx
May 13, 2016 3:08 pm

“Next time, read the paper FIRST and then write one post”
Also try reading WUWT. A lot of this was hashed out here just a few days ago.

Reply to  Dougmanxx
May 14, 2016 5:55 am

Ok, I looked up Kale Island, the first island on the list.
the island is still there. it is an outer fringing reef. You can still see the island and the surf break.
These sorts of fringing island come and go all the time. They are basically coral reefs that accumulate rubble due to wave action. over time plants inhabit the rubble, holding everything together. Then a big hurricane comes through, on the outer reefs the plants get washed away or poisoned by salt, the rubble breaks up, and the cycle repeats.

Reply to  ferdberple
May 14, 2016 8:40 pm

@ ferd, where is kale Island? I like Kale especially with a big smoked sausage. :).

May 13, 2016 6:22 am

I presume the ” i cm/yr ” is 1 cm/yr.
I also assume that these coral islands come and go, depending on storm destruction, storm shifting of coral sands, and coral growth. Have any extra islands appeared in the Solomons?

Reply to  ralfellis
May 13, 2016 10:56 am

“Have any extra islands appeared in the Solomons?”
Almost certainly. But no right-thinking climate scientist would be so crude as to mention it in public

May 13, 2016 6:26 am

7mm/yr over 20 years = 5.5 inches…..Not much of an island. Probably a guano island

Reply to  falconized
May 13, 2016 8:17 am

Yes, island definition needed here. If my dog poops higher than 5.5 inches in the surf, is that a new island?

Stewart Pid
Reply to  Dayhay
May 13, 2016 8:56 am

That must be some dog u have 😉

May 13, 2016 6:27 am

You should have seen the sea level decrease when Krakatoa went up.
It was incredible.
One minute we were at the beach and next minute we were at the top of a bloody big hill.

May 13, 2016 6:45 am

..Somebody should teach them the difference between an “Island” and a “Sandbar” !!

May 13, 2016 6:56 am

Coral islands grow constantly. It’s the only reason they are above sea level. If they were atop cliffs 5 meters above sea level they would not grow as there is no place to beach all the bits and pieces.
This is best demonstrated on the Island US troops had to invade, trying to entrench in coral sand on the beaches.
New deposits come with every wave that beaches.
If you look at some Islands from above, in clear waters, you can see the extend of the coral spread out under the shallow bear coast waters.
The coral under the water off the shore, eventually they will turn into very small islands, that is deposits not “Submerged by rising seas.
The problem with this one is, it is a lagoon, lagoons are different because storm surges come into the lagoon and take tonns of coral sand back out into the lagoon, eventually the lagoon will be above land.
Oceans tend to smear out coral sand so it’s never much above waves that deposit the sand
This will be an island eventually

May 13, 2016 6:57 am

This, and from the Guardian no less:
“Headlines ‘exaggerated’ climate link to sinking of Pacific islands
Report’s author says many media outlets have misinterpreted the science by conflating sea-level rise with climate change”
Nothing new, hacks looking for headlines.

Reply to  phaedo
May 13, 2016 8:31 am

Yup, I was going to point this out also. The paper’s author debunked the media reports about climate change being the major cause.

Gras Albert
May 13, 2016 7:01 am

A quite astonishing volte-face, given the source
<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/10/headlines-exaggerated-climate-link-to-sinking-of-pacific-islands"Headlines Exaggerate Climate Link To Island Loss
Look at the mast head

The study blamed the loss on a combination of sea-level rise and high wave energy.
Many media outlets, including the Guardian, jumped to the conclusion that the islands were lost to climate change. But this largely misinterprets the science, according to the study’s author, Dr Simon Albert.

May 13, 2016 7:03 am

bit if a double whammy for alarmists- massive storm from the past and growing back-
The island that ‘grew back’: Pacific isle that disappeared after devastating typhoon reappears 100 years after its destruction
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2564730/The-island-grew-Pacific-isle-disappeared-devastating-typhoon-reappears-100-years-destruction.html#ixzz48XouJZya

Reply to  englandrichard
May 13, 2016 1:47 pm

It is a sign the reefs and ecosystem there are in good condition much of coral sand is dead coral but more is all sorts of other shells and whatnot. Most of it is not actually dead coral.
Also those atolls and surrounding subsurface area are basically large calcium reactors, coral sand is excellent at buffering acid. It raises alkalinity.
This is not considered in OA junk science.

May 13, 2016 7:04 am

of a

May 13, 2016 7:05 am

Read the actual paper two days ago. The five small islands (out of a thousand) were all on the northeast side of the western part of the Solomons bigger islands, exposed to significant typhoon generated ocean wave action coming down from storm tracks further north. The other study batch of small islands to the southwest of the main islands did not significantly change because leeward, sheltered from typhoon waves.
2007 there was an 8.1 shallow earthquake to the southwest. Caused a tsunami that (depending on shoaling, impact angle and distance from epicenter) was up to 12 meters high. Also uplifted some places more than a meter. USGS has more info. A lot more going on in the Solomons than variable SLR. This paper should have noted all seismic activity over the study period, and the tsunami induced changes. It did not.

Bob Boder
May 13, 2016 7:17 am

5 islands have disappeared since 1947, interesting date to pick, maybe that’s because the blew them up testing the H-bomb. just saying.

Reply to  Bob Boder
May 13, 2016 1:31 pm

I believe that was the Marshall Islands.
I’m sure 1947 was picked because of post WWII surveys of all of these islands. They had pictures, so they used them.

May 13, 2016 7:29 am

New Anti-Scientist and Anti-Scientific American are now joke publications only – kind of like like The Onion except with a consistent pseudoscience skew. Pure farce and not even dressed in the trappings of science anymore.

Kevin Kilty
May 13, 2016 7:49 am

“No Scientist” Magazine.

Reply to  Kevin Kilty
May 13, 2016 11:06 am

I like that.

May 13, 2016 8:00 am

..Good thing most of us Little People know by now that they are full of Donkey Manure !

May 13, 2016 8:06 am

Curious, I checked Google Earth and found Kale, the first island in abstentia, still has vegetation.
Then after reading the article, it all became clear. The alleged scientists have narrowly tailored their study so they can claim their findings as “sea level rise”.
Not answered:
Why all of the islands did not show similar inundation.
Why some of the islands grew.
What was abnormal regarding the regular life of a coral island?
No null analysis.
No deeper studies into historic maps.
No explanation for various other reasons a coral island might diminish (storms, earthquakes).
Status: Bogus study! Worthy of a maniacal type anti-scientist.

Joe Crawford
May 13, 2016 8:17 am

I don’t know about the Solomon Islands but as mentioned in another post on this site, the over fishing of Triggerfish also has a negative impact on tropical island growth and their ability to adapt to rising sea levels. Triggerfish eat the coral and convert their exoskeletons into sand which may then be washed up on beaches by wave action, thus extending the size of the island.

Reply to  Joe Crawford
May 13, 2016 8:30 am

That’s interesting to me Joe as one of those bad boys tried to do much the same thing with my left femur.

Duane Truitt
Reply to  Joe Crawford
May 16, 2016 1:26 pm

Duane Truitt
Joe – Interesting comment about triggerfish and the critical role they serve in coral reefs … most people are unaware of where “coral sand” comes from. There is nothing in ocean currents that would cause coral to erode like rocks on land erode when exposed to weathering and freeze-thaw action. Coral sand is created mostly by the action of triggerfish and other coral-eating fish, who poop out the coral “sand” (particulate debris, basically). If you do any diving or snorkeling at a live coral reef populated with such fish in abundance, you can literally hear the fish (through the water) eating the coral, it can be a cacophony! I am not an oceanographer, so I don’t claim particular expertise here, but I was told that essentially all of the coral sand that underlies the the interior of the vast Bahamas Bank was created by triggerfish over millions of years … the deposits are literally hundreds if not thousands of feet thick, so it’s hard to comprehend.
Anyway, coral atolls are constantly subject to growth, using as building materials a combination of “coral sand” and the intricate roots of mangroves that thrive in that environment. If sea levels rise, so do the coral atolls.

Crispin in Waterloo
May 13, 2016 8:26 am

It is most interesting that the climate financing business, and it is a business, albeit subsidies in disguise, brings it’s big scare-guns to bear on Funafuti.
Funafuti, in the SiSwati language, means, literally ‘want again’. In other languages this is known as ‘double dipping’ and ‘having seconds’.
What a yuk!

May 13, 2016 8:45 am

Every time one of the Solomons sinks below the waves, we should drop a vowel from Slmn slnds in its honor and observe a moment’s silence… OK, resume normal activities.

Walt S
May 13, 2016 8:53 am

It looks like the tiny back areas of the offshore barrier islands are the ones in question. Here’s a time lapse of the area of the Kale Island. I’d guess storms and tides were more the culprit here.

Snarling Dolphin
May 13, 2016 9:24 am

I think that I should like to purchase these 5 islands for my progeny. Are they perchance for sale?

May 13, 2016 9:57 am

I’ll bet the Chinese military construction crew can find them and reclaim all of them before this WH even finds out what installations have been put there.

Stephen Skinner
May 13, 2016 9:59 am

How were all these islands a mere 10,000 years ago as sea level was 20 metres (not millimetres) lower than present? The sea took about 5,000 years to rise 100 metres or about 2 metres per year, every year, for 4,000 years uninterrupted!!!!!

Stephen Skinner
Reply to  Stephen Skinner
May 13, 2016 10:27 am

Stephen Skinner May 13, 2016 at 9:59 am
Oops. More haste less speed. What I meant was 2 metres per 100 years, every 100 years for 5,000 years…

May 13, 2016 10:00 am

The “lost islands” are presumably due to the natural “shifting sideways” aspect of coral atolls, as described in the other linked report: “As a whole, the group grew by more than 18 hectares, while many islands changed shape or shifted sideways.”
Every time an island shifts (“shoreline recession at two sites has destroyed villages…”) they count it as lost land while ignoring the newly accreted land the the village has moved to.

May 13, 2016 10:20 am

Back in the 1960s the top warmists of the day predicted that sea level would rise 10 feet by the year 2000. They also predicted another 200 feet of sea level rise by 2200, or an additional 1 foot per year.
If the nightmare scenario is now 7 mm / year, that is a stunning reversal from the alarmism of the past.

May 13, 2016 10:53 am

Sea level rates up to three times the global mean rate are being observed in the western tropical Pacific since 1993 by satellite altimetry. From recently published studies, it is not yet clear whether the sea level spatial trend patterns of the Pacific Ocean observed by satellite altimetry are mostly due to internal climate variability or if some anthropogenic fingerprint is already detectable. We show that subtraction of the IPO contribution to sea level trends through the method of linear regression does not totally remove the internal variability, leaving significant signal related to the non-linear response of sea level to El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). In addition, by making use of 21 CMIP5 coupled climate models, we study the contribution of external forcing to the Pacific Ocean regional sea level variability over 1993–2013, and show that according to climate models, externally forced and thereby the anthropogenic sea level fingerprint on regional sea level trends in the tropical Pacific is still too small to be observable by satellite altimetry.
Furthermore, regressed CMIP5 MME-based sea level spatial trend pattern in the tropical Pacific over the altimetry period do not display any positive sea level trend values that are comparable to the altimetry based sea level signal after having removed the contribution of the decadal natural climate mode. This suggests that the residual positive trend pattern observed in the western tropical Pacific is not externally forced and thereby not anthropogenic in origin. In addition the amplitude of the sea level spatial trend pattern from regressed CMIP5 MME is low over the altimetry period in the tropical Pacific. This amplitude is significantly lower than the expected error in trend patterns from satellite altimetry (in the order of 2 mm yr-1 to 3 mm yr−1, Ablain et al 2015, Couhert et al 2015) and suggest that satellite altimetry measurement is still not accurate enough to detect the anthropogenic signal in the 20 year tropical Pacific sea level trends.
Global sea levels have been rising through the past century and are projected to rise at an accelerated rate throughout the 21st century. This has motivated a number of authors to search for already existing accelerations in observations, which would be, if present, vital for coastal protection planning purposes. No scientific consensus has been reached yet as to how a possible acceleration could be separated from intrinsic climate variability in sea level records. This has led to an intensive debate on its existence and, if absent, also on the general validity of current future projections.

spangled drongo
Reply to  kennethrichards
May 13, 2016 9:52 pm

Interesting study KR.
“Next to the 2011a study of Houston and Dean, Watson [2011] reported decelerating rather than accelerating tide gauge series along the Australian coastline.”
The best “trend pattern” to use that I know of is personal observation and in my relatively geodetically stable NOTW on the Australian coastline for the last 70 years highest astronomical tides during fine weather [~ normal BP] based on AHD100 sea wall heights, these king tides have dropped on average ~ 150 mm [6 inches] in that time.
So, not only no acceleration but straight out NO SLR AT ALL !!!

May 13, 2016 11:02 am

Put the Chinese in charge of island raising.

Reply to  Resourceguy
May 14, 2016 12:30 am

) It’s usually politicAL.

May 13, 2016 11:54 am

Indeed one needs to know which “islands”.
Some are really sandbars, which are at the mercy of wave action.
Some disappear when the earth below sinks, I understand that’s the case in Hawaii, where new ones are also formed (volcanic action there).
Some locations on the mid-wet coast of North America are sinking while others rise – compare long-term records from PSMSL for New Westminster BC and the corner of WA state (La Push or thereabouts).

Reply to  Keith Sketchley
May 13, 2016 12:32 pm

In https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/05/08/gang-aft-agley/ Willis E says “Naw, the claim was about the Solomon Islands, and it was just small uninhabited barrier sand islets. These are constantly shifting and changing, with old ones disappearing and new ones appearing.”

May 13, 2016 2:19 pm

Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
Since the end of the last ice age, The Marshall, Solomon and other Island atolls have survived 130 metres of sea-level rise, but the last 1.43mm/year since 1950 (if that) is going to sink them?!
Climate reports based on RCP8 Climate model predictions are a disgrace to journalism and science.
They depict the opposite of observed reality and epitomise the fear mongering, propaganda and alarmism that fuels the ‘catastrophic (man made) climate change’ scam.
More “scientific” proof of my above statement here:

Gunga Din
May 13, 2016 3:27 pm

An honest question: Did anybody actually live on them?
(Haven’t the Chinese and others made up for their loss?8-)
If they are gone because of actual CAGW sea level rise. then why Is Tuvalu still there?
In this layman’s opinion, baring plate tectonics and all that, some islands are sand and some are rock. How many of the rock ones are gone?

May 13, 2016 4:48 pm

David Middleton writes: “Any islands vulnerable to 6 mm/yr of sea level rise would have already been vanishing during most El Niño episodes.”
Your graphs of sea level variations for the Solomon Islands show sea level dropping there during El Nino events, which is appropriate for the western tropical Pacific. Shouldn’t your statement end “…during most La Nina episodes”?

May 13, 2016 5:22 pm

It just keeps happening. We’re losing several sandbars every year due to sand getting washed away.
And in this instance we lost maybe half a square kilometer of useless nothing. Probably due to erosion.
Nobody was hurt. Nobody will miss this sand.
Here’s a previous example of sand bar loss, from March 2010.

Reply to  indefatigablefrog
May 14, 2016 8:53 pm

@ indefatigable, I have a suspicion it is why Holland builds dikes. (They actually turn those initial sand bars “polders” into farm land.)

Reply to  asybot
May 14, 2016 8:55 pm

Ahh “sandbars into “polders then into farmland”, ( brain way faster than fingers)

Reply to  asybot
May 15, 2016 12:30 am

Precisely. But the eco-left despise all “interfering with nature”.
Reclaiming land from the sea is appropriation of territories belonging to aboriginal fish – or something like that!! 🙂

Jimmy Haigh
May 13, 2016 5:32 pm

Don’t you just.love it how “global sea level rise” picks out islands? One. By. One…

May 13, 2016 5:44 pm

Slightly off-topic, but I would strongly recommend this article on a similar-ish situation in the Sunderbans:
“Those set to lose their land were certainly suffering. But no one blamed rising sea levels. They blamed the government’s unwillingness to spend money on a proper concrete breakwater, and the shortsightedness of the well-meaning philanthropists who had settled them there over the last 100 years.”

John Reistroffer
May 13, 2016 6:21 pm

What’s the rate of subsidence?
What’s the rate of erosion?
What’s the effect of the variable easterlies on sea level?

Michael Carter
May 13, 2016 7:43 pm

Throughout the last 40 years There has been 21 earthquakes measuring 6.5 MW and above in the Solomon Island region. Some have measure over 8 MW
I have had a glance at the bathymetry using Goggle Earth. It is clearly a very dynamic tectonic region. Some islands are just pinnacles on ridge systems that rapidly drop off to several KM water depth within 10 km
Yes, it is part of a tectonic boundary – a complicated one at that. Relative sea levels will be highly dynamic, up or down. Without measuring tectonic displacement any data on relative sea level is useless
The disappearing island story featured on New Zealand National Radio news.

May 13, 2016 9:50 pm

Any mention of the massive coral bleaching event this year? No didn’t think so.

Reply to  Mike
May 14, 2016 1:45 am

yes consistently, we have a few threads for that, debunked. Deal with it.

Reply to  Mark
May 14, 2016 2:22 am

Debunked? Really? Get in a plane, fly over to north Queensland, hire a charter and see for yourself (Queensland is in A-u-s-t-r-a-l-i-a btw). You are clearly a moron Mark.

Reply to  Mark
May 14, 2016 6:24 am

friends just got back from Cairns. diving on the reef is great. if there is bleaching it isn’t widespread.
in any case, coral bleaching is a natural process. coral is a symbiont. a polyp and an algae. the algae gives the color. when the algae isn’t producing enough food, the polyp kicks it out and waits for another algae that will produce food.
sort of like humans. the dad isn’t supplying food, the mom kicks him out and looks for a replacement that will. the reason is much the same, both are trying to increase their reproductive success.

Reply to  Mark
May 14, 2016 6:34 am

In point of fact, new research indicates that coral is not a symbiont in the traditional sense. Rather, the coral “farms” the algae, using a chemical signal to attract the normally free swimming algae.
the reason the coral does this is the tropical waters are nutrient poor. the algae provides the coral polyps with energy (sugars) via photosynthesis. in return the waste products of the coral help nourish the algae, providing for example CO2 and nitrates.

Reply to  Mark
May 14, 2016 7:09 am

I know it’s a pointless exercise trying to explain (a) geography (b) climate science and (c) common sense on here- but for f*** sake educate yourself. First, a tour operator is not going to take a bunch of fat american tourists to a dead reef. Second, the worst bleaching has occurred further north of cairns. Third coral bleaching events on this kind of scale are not “natural” events.
Here’s multiple private and public media sources including some s*** right wing ones detailing the extent of this disaster so don’t give me any predictable crap about this being a left wing conspiracy:

Reply to  Mark
May 14, 2016 8:43 am

Hey Mike !!comment image

Reply to  Mike
May 14, 2016 1:46 am

Are you lost? the Granuiad is >>>>> that away

Reply to  Mark
May 14, 2016 1:08 pm

Great Photo, The cat would have more brains as well.

Reply to  Mike
May 14, 2016 3:39 pm

So nothing intelligent to say then? Didn’t think so. Morons.

May 13, 2016 10:16 pm

wonder what Paul Kench would have to say about that.

May 14, 2016 1:09 am

So familiar have I become with the climatariat and the dreggy media behind it that I knew these islands would not exist and I moved on without inquiry or interest.
At the height of the Cold War a dissident visiting the West expressed amazement that the western media conformed and propagandised on behalf of the establishment without being subjected to any threat of persecution, violence or worse. They’re volunteers.

Reply to  mosomoso
May 14, 2016 6:52 am

They’re volunteers.
no. the media is owned by the establishment and the reported are paid to propagandize on behalf of the establishment.
WaPo assigns 20 reporters to “get the dirt” on Trump. Why just trump? Why not get the dirt on all the candidates?
This isn’t reporting. It is politics dressed up as news, to gain political advantage. Because with political advantage comes control of the purse strings of government.
Does anyone seriously believe the establishment will spend $1 billion dollars in support of a candidate without expecting to get much more back in return?
Good reason the American People are pizzed off with their political system. They have been led through the nose from one disaster to the next, as they spend trillions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives to “police” the world.
Look at the latest disaster. Regime change in Syria, led by the CIA and Hillary in the State Department, Obama as the salesman. Assad must go. The US set this as a precondition to peace talks.
Instead after years of fighting Assad is still there, and now there is ISIS. Moscow and China on the rise with a refugee crisis in Europe and around the world.
For many, many people of the world, Climate Change isn’t the greatest threat to world peace. All too many people see America foreign policy as the greatest threat.
Hasn’t the time has come to stop trying to be the policeman to the world? because as a policeman you end up owning all the worlds problems. it becomes your responsibility to solve them, and you get blamed when you can’t.

Donald Kasper
May 14, 2016 2:48 am

A correlation coefficient of 0.2 is called random noise. It has to be 0.7 or higher to be relevant, namely, worth talking about at all as indicative of something in natural systems.

Reply to  Donald Kasper
May 14, 2016 4:04 am

Hopefully people will naturally grasp that it depends on how many pairs of factors a person has examined as potential correlates.
Imagine that I have two good dice, and I threw them 100 times. If I showed a weak correlation between throws, then something clearly fishy would seem to be afoot, and it would justify further examination.
But, if I threw 100 dice, 100 times, and then found a weak correlation between the values given by two dice, picked by me from the entire group of 100 dice – then hopefully most people would spot that this comes as no surprise. And that I have not discovered an interesting phenomenon.
i.e. because of the way that I picked my correlating data from a much larger pile of discarded data, removes the significance of the correlation.
Climate Scientists have more than 100 dice to play with. The modern age can provide them with vast quantities of data from all kinds of events. The fact that they can mine that data for weak correlations should come as no surprise.
This would be the case – even if all data was randomly generated.
A simple example of this error – is the claim made by alarmists that the end of freezing of the Thames (1814) was caused by the removal of London Bridge (1831).
Many people have spoofed such poor quality thinking about spurious associations/correlations.
My favourite, is here:

Reply to  indefatigablefrog
May 14, 2016 7:07 am

in an infinite universe, there are an infinite number of positive examples that can be used to prove anything. truly, if you look, you will find an infinite number of example to prove anything. purple jelly beans cause cancer. women’s hemlines drive the stock market.
the only “proof” of the truth lies in the negative example. but these studies never get published because they are not interesting. “we looked and found nothing” does not sell news stories.
the truth is obscured by publication bias. negative results don’t get published, but these are the results that truly matter.
The Pause” was the most significant climate event in the past 20 years. Yet it went unnoticed in scientific publications, because if was a negative example. It showed nothing was happening.
In contrast, Karl’s Pause Buster received more press for a single positive finding, than was given all the negative findings for the length of the Pause.

May 14, 2016 7:38 am

‘Team member Roger McLean of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, who is also a coordinating lead author on the small islands chapter in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, says the paper’s findings are important because of the time frame. The sea level change at Funafuti over the past century is similar to what the IPCC is projecting for the year 2100.
“There will be less emphasis on external migration of ‘environmental refugees’ from atoll nations that has gained such prominence in the last few years,” he says. But he notes that the atoll-building sediment comes from productive coral reefs, which face a range of threats such as warming oceans and pollution.’
Always that BUT….
And just who was it that put such emphasis and prominence on all those ‘environmental refugees’ in the first place Dodger?

May 14, 2016 7:44 am

Many of the reefs that supposedly disappeared in 2014 are visible above the surface in some 2015 and 2016 Landsat images. Here is Kale:comment image .
As you could expect, low reefs are partially above, partially below the surface depending on shorter-term fluctuations such as tides and ENSO. You can’t use individual images from different decades to draw conclusions about the millimeter-per-year long-time trend that’s supposedly partially related to AGW. Daily to decadal fluctuations are larger than the long-term change of half a century.
The authors clearly understand this and maybe that’s why they’ve apparently avoided falsifiable hard claims in the paper and made them in blogs instead. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/05/10/busted-claim-data-shows-that-climate-induced-sea-level-rise-didnt-wipe-out-five-solomon-islands/#comment-2212136

May 14, 2016 8:35 am

I’ve looked into the ‘Five Islands’ in a bit more detail. You can see my comments at:
My main conclusions are:
1. The total area of the 5 islands is only 0.0006% of area of the Solomon Islands.
2. 40% of the loss occurred in the 1947 to 1962 period.

The swede
May 14, 2016 11:10 am

You can not jump to conclusions about sealevel rise unti you know what the underlying seafloor is doing.
from the below linked Article:
“The sea level around Antarctica and Greenland will be going down; Scandinavia will be emerging. Almost every projection I have seen shows the highest rates of rise will be in the equatorial Pacific,”

Reply to  The swede
May 14, 2016 9:03 pm

For the Solomon Islands the rate of sinking of land (Glacial Isostatic Adjustment) is of the order of 0.16 mm/year. An order of magnitude less than the rate of sea level rise.

May 14, 2016 1:07 pm

I invite everybody to an Island Birthday Party. Just wait six hours till the tide goes out. Hip Hip Hooray.

May 15, 2016 8:52 pm

Only 5 islands in the Solomons had completely disappeared since 1914, 1 to 5 hectares in size. That’s remarkably low, must be because most islands are rising in line with rising sea levels. This offers a glimpse into how insignificant sea levels rises will be over the next 100 years.

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