Remember when the islands of Tuvalu were going to be inundated by sea level rise? Never mind…

Surprise! Poster child for sea level rise, Tuvalu, is actually growing!

From the “we told you so,  again, and again” department. We’ve had several articles about the island of Tuvalu and the ridiculous claims of sea level rise causing it to disappear, while at the same time they are building new hotels and airports to attract tourists. Willis has also had several articles on how Pacific atolls grow, and float, rather than sink as sea level advances.

Now, a study confirms what we’ve already known – atolls, and in particular Tuvalu is growing, and increasing land area. So much for climate alarmism. From Nature communications:

Patterns of island change and persistence offer alternate adaptation pathways for atoll nations

Paul S. Kench, Murray R. Ford & Susan D. Owen


Sea-level rise and climatic change threaten the existence of atoll nations. Inundation and erosion are expected to render islands uninhabitable over the next century, forcing human migration. Here we present analysis of shoreline change in all 101 islands in the Pacific atoll nation of Tuvalu. Using remotely sensed data, change is analysed over the past four decades, a period when local sea level has risen at twice the global average (~3.90 ± 0.4 mm.yr−1). Results highlight a net increase in land area in Tuvalu of 73.5 ha (2.9%), despite sea-level rise, and land area increase in eight of nine atolls. Island change has lacked uniformity with 74% increasing and 27% decreasing in size. Results challenge perceptions of island loss, showing islands are dynamic features that will persist as sites for habitation over the next century, presenting alternate opportunities for adaptation that embrace the heterogeneity of island types and their dynamics.

From the discussion section:

Here we present the first comprehensive national-scale analysis of the transformation in physical land resources of the Pacific atoll nation Tuvalu, situated in the central western Pacific (Supplementary Note 1). Comprising 9 atolls and 101 individual reef islands, the nation is home to 10,600 people, 50% of whom are located on the urban island of Fogafale, in Funafuti atoll28. We specifically examine spatial differences in island behaviour, of all 101 islands in Tuvalu, over the past four decades (1971–2014), a period in which local sea level has risen at twice the global average (Supplementary Note 2). Surprisingly, we show that all islands have changed and that the dominant mode of change has been island expansion, which has increased the land area of the nation. Results are used to project future landform availability and consider opportunities for a vastly more nuanced and creative set of adaptation pathways for atoll nations.

Figure 3: Examples of island change and dynamics in Tuvalu from 1971 to 2014. a Nanumaga reef platform island (301 ha) increased in area 4.7 ha (1.6%) and remained stable on its reef platform. b Fangaia island (22.4 ha), Nukulaelae atoll, increased in area 3.1 ha (13.7%) and remained stable on reef rim. c Fenualango island (14.1 ha), Nukulaelae atoll rim, increased in area 2.3 ha (16%). Note smaller island on left Teafuafatu (0.29 ha), which reduced in area 0.15 ha (49%) and had significant lagoonward movement. d Two smaller reef islands on Nukulaelae reef rim. Tapuaelani island, (0.19 ha) top left, increased in area 0.21 ha (113%) and migrated lagoonward. Kalilaia island, (0.52 ha) bottom right, reduced in area 0.45 ha (85%) migrating substantially lagoonward. e Teafuone island (1.37 ha) Nukufetau atoll, increased in area 0.04 ha (3%). Note lateral migration of island along reef platform. Yellow lines represent the 1971 shoreline, blue lines represent the 1984 shoreline, green lines represent the 2006 shoreline and red lines represent the 2014 shoreline. Images ©2017 DigitalGlobe Inc

Full paper here, open access:

How inconvenient for climate alarmists. Now what will they do for claiming sea level rise will inundate Pacific islands?

h/t to WUWT reader Clyde Spencer



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sy computing

I was just about to put this in the Tips section…that’s why I don’t run a blog like this!


Yeah, but, no, but yeah, CO2 is making them grow in the wrong way, init?

Mike Bromley the Kurd

Ironically, the material that makes them grow contains carbon dioxide.

44% of the weight of a coral reef is CO2!!

I laughed when they said:

Surprisingly, we show that all islands have changed …

This is no surprise to anyone who has spent much time around coral atolls. See my posts entitled “Floating Islands” and “The Irony, It Burns” for a full discussion.
PS—Anthony, the third of your first three links is the same as the second link.


They just have not learned how to “spin” it yet. The area that is now exposed to sea-level rise has increased so an even greater area is at risk!!


You have a brighter future as a climate scientist/communicator than you realize.

Bryan A

Far better than Bill Nye


Might a monkey with a drinking problem be better than Bill Nye?
Just asking – and seeking to establish parameters.

Extreme Hiatus

Blame China. They’re ‘climate leaders’ and may have kindly snuck in and fixed these islands. They’re good at it.


Willis, I suspect the lead author Paul Kench would be in complete agreement with you. He and his associated researchers from the University of Auckland have done a lot of work in the Pacific and have documented similar changes. I expect the surprise part was for the many who would read the article with the expectation of shrinking atolls.
He gives more background in a 2014 article:

This finding is consistent with our case studies in the Great Barrier Reef and the Maldives, which show that islands can form under a range of sea-level conditions including rising, falling, and stable.
Together, these studies show that sea level alone is not the main factor that controls the formation and subsequent change of reef islands. These processes also depend on the surrounding coral reef generating sufficient sand and shingle to build islands.


Coral atolls, and barrier islands, too. And what on Earth is changing about Tuvalu’s climate? Is it becoming a desert? Rainfall up/down more than natural variation in the area? I highly doubt there’s anything changing at all, climate-wise.


Charles Darwin’s first monograph, published in 1842, found essentially the same thing.
All this recent research has done is to did up an established truth which had been buried under a mountain of climate “science” disinformation.

Dr K.A. Rodgers

Funafuti, the main island of Tuvalu,is where Britain’s Royal Society drilled in three successive years in the 1890s to find hard evidence of Darwin’s ideas on the origin of atolls. In their day these ideas were as controversial as is climate change today. There was no consensus.

By using the term “inconvenient” you are being disrespectful to former vice-president Al Gore, whose two documentary films on climate change contained the word in their titles.
“Delicious” might be more appropriate.


“you are being disrespectful to former vice-president Al Gore”

John harmsworth

Isn’t that the guy who disrespected the intelligence of every single human being on the planet and continues to do so?


That was probably the point.


Al Gore’s response upon reading the article? “Doh!”

Bill Powers

he kinda looks and talks like Homer Simpson.

Extreme Hiatus

More like love child of Homer Simpson and Jimmy Swaggart. That might seem impossible but rising levels of CO2 has changed everything.


Well this may destroy any chance of any climate refugees from the pacific.
PS I put this in the tips section as well. What a turnaround!! Its a wonder the study got published.


The reason it got published is the authors paid the requisite homage up front to the Climate Change priests with their first lead sentence, “Sea-level rise and climatic change threaten the existence of atoll nations. Inundation and erosion are expected to render islands uninhabitable over the next century, forcing human migration. ”
If you simply cut that first sentence out, nothing would change in their discussion or conclusion. It was merely a bow to the Gatekeepers so that they could pass onto an editorial review to get sent out to referees.


Okay, first two sentences. They could be deleted without any change in how the abstract reads.
But those first two sentences were the price that had to be paid to the climate priesthood for entry to the temple.

Extreme Hiatus

Oh sure Roger. You’re in New Zealand. Easy to be cheerful when you are so close to Antarctica when reach The Tipping Point. The rest of us will be boiled before we can get there.


Go easy, My city is close to the same latitude of Barcelona Spain.
I’m sure we will boil about the same rate as you guys in the northern hemisphere. 😉 Mind you Antarctica has been accreting ice overall since records began. Maybe the odd friendly iceberg will float our way;)


“Democracy Now” just ran a story on this phenomenon – about Kiribati – all very similar –


I can hear the ClimateCatastrophe™ Whack-a-Mole Machine warming up….


Uh-oh, challenging the consensus is gonna get them in trouble.


Obviously the IPCC money Tuvalu got to ‘fight’ SLR has worked…now can somebody write this up and submit for peer review 🙂 (specifically methods used to augment SLR)


If they send too much money, will the island tip over?

John Darrow

Hopefully they will be ok – but just in case I believe they are only accepting bitcoin

Javert Chip

Turns out, once Tuvalu officials realized they would not be coated in $100 bills, the problem went away.


Happily not actually imbibing – so you do NOT owe me a monitor.
Thirty seconds earlier and it may have been different!
+ Lots and Lots
Auto ;-))

Patrick MJD

They were expecting $1000 bills. $100 bills are for chumps!


So this is the alternate meaning and purpose of
They quietly move on to other touchstones when needed.

Anthony, maybe you should create a new category for these posts….say the Emily Litella “never mind” category :).


Once again the truth catches up to the CC misinformation.

Sigh. Another day, another denihilist strawman.
Listen, people: no serious scientist ever claimed Tuvalu “was going to be inundated by sea level rise.”
Only climate scientists.

Alan Tomalty

So that means that no serious scientist believes in AGW. I would like to know if there is one serious scientist in the world that is not running computer models and wants nothing to do with computer models that actually believes in AGW. Please provide just one or more if you know of any..

Your challenge is impossible to meet, as I suspect you know. (Fallacy of Impassable Impasses, anyone?)
Without exception, the experts who are panicking about global warming are paid to do so.
That’s why you can trust them.

Javert Chip

I suspect there may have been some undetected sarcasm around here somewhere…

The funny thing was Tuvalu government took all that Global Warming money and spent it on upgrading their airport to the tune of $20million. Now if you really believed in Global Warming is causing Sea Level rise which is going to doom your island, the last thing you would do is upgrade your soon to be underwater airport. So they knew it was a scam and they got in on it and took advantage of some gullible Liberal westerners.

Mark from the Midwest

Just as ironic, jet aircraft are one of the best devices for taking fossil fuels and returning CO2 to the atmosphere.
I can hear it now “If we get all this money due to CO2 let’s create more CO2”

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

Even better: people will pay to watch it happen!


“gullible Liberal westerners”….with influence to make other people’s money flow

Javert Chip

“…influence…”? How about state police power.

DC Cowboy

Anthony, I don’t know why you think this is ironic. I’m sure that the usual suspects will be telling us this is exactly what they expected additional CO2 to do and that they ‘predicted’ it would happen long ago.


I attempt to be have a general knowledge of the natural environment. I recently reviewed articles about coral reefs ( research would be over exaggerating) Most coral reefs are about 10, 000 years old, the Great Barrier Reef is estimated at 20,000 years old, and comprise about 0.1 % of ocean sea area.
Whilst I support policies to protect corals from collection, overfishing and fertiliser run off it occurs to me that coral reefs are quite resilient considering the climatic changes and sea level rises of the past 12,000 years since the end of the last ice age.
Corals develop in tropical seas and survive even in the Red Sea, at water temperatures of over 30 degrees C, and in colder waters such as around Rockall in the Atlantic.
I would find it enlightening if the process of coral bleaching was explored in a less doomsday manner. Is it a natural process meaning some corals die to be replaced by other species or is it an indicator of a another issue?
It is likely that corals will still be extant after humans have died out.


Yes, corals have been around for more than 400 million years and they are very resilient to “change” – – how else to explain persistence?
I have to dispute the statement above that the Great Barrier Reef is 20,000 years old, because 20,000 years ago sea level was more than 300 ft lower than today. Submarine land that supports the GBR today was dry land 20,000 years ago.
But, wonder of wonders!, as sea levels rose with significant warming at the beginning of the Holocene, the corals continued to grow and colonize the newly submerged coastal margins in lockstep with sea-level rise.
That’s how natural processes work.


Dear Geolgyjim,
As I said I did some reading on the subject. The age of the GBR came from Wikipedia. Genuinely, thank you for your information and knowledge. I prefer WUWT when there is genuine discussion and not polemics. All the best London 247.


GeoJim, that date has been proven by drilling. Remember, the reef is now up to 250 km wide. At the glacial low sea levels the reef would have been at that outer edge, and since then it has built upwards and westwards toward the current shoreline.

Kristi Silber

I agree that nature changes in response to environment – that’s obvious. However, for the purposes of discussing realistic impacts of AGW, description of the past adaptation isn’t always helpful. Yours, for example, doesn’t address rates of environmental change, colonization, and evolutionary adaptation, habitat availability, very different levels of resilience across species, community diversity, fishing pressure other human-related problems … lots of factors come into play now that didn’t in the past.

Alan Tomalty

Coral bleaching is a natural phenomenon and has been happening ever since corals formed. The Professor Ridd who is being persecuted by his James Cook university because of his opinions has a recent article on this site explaining how corals are surviving quite nicely.

J Mac

Another Alarmopogenic Global Warming deceit sinks beneath the gently lapping waves of fact-based science.

Islands made of sand ==> This is the same situation we see all around the world with islands made of sand, mud and river gravel. We have seen this in Alaska, along the US East Coast (the Outer Banks), and even in Bangladesh.
The natural forces that form these islands also adds to and takes away from them as Nature sees fit — all controlled by well-understood physical laws — not vaguely calculated (nearly imaginary) human-caused sea level rise.
I have seen North Carolina’s Outer banks reshaped and cut into small pieces by passing tropical storms — and have had the misfortune to lay-over in North Carolina, just north of Beaufort, for the direct hit of Hurricane Irene in August of 2011. “Hurricane Irene cut several breaches across North Carolina Highway 12 on Hatteras Island, isolating the island from the rest of the Outer Banks. Several of the smaller breaches were filled in with sand, but the largest, which is 200 feet (61 m) wide, was left open, recreating Pea Island for the first time since 1945.”
For a time, my wife and I, two kids and a grandchild lived in Sosua, Dominican Republic. We had a favorite tiny beach there — a beach which would inexplicably gain and lose over five vertical feet of sand depending on sea conditions. It was really pretty wild — someday I’ll write a essay about it and provide photos.


Barrier islands are by nature unstable. All the islands in the Beaufort/Morehead City area (or indeed all the NC barrier islands) change constantly in shape and size. Generally onshore winds and surf action cause them to migrate toward the mainland. The exceptions are those that have been allowed to develop, like Bogue Banks and some of the islands north of Cape Hatteras. There the beaches are continually renourished. The real estate is too valuable to be allowed to migrate.

scraft1 ==> My wife and I have spent several seasons (or parts of them) anchored off the docks in Beaufort, within a stones throw of the Nature Reserve on the islands, wild horses — and on up to Harker’s Island area. and all that.


I spend a fair amount of time in Beaufort though my home is in Morehead City. I’ve also cruised Taylors Creek and probably saw you there. Come back sometime.

scraft1 ==> Was there last Spring — brought my boat up from Bock’s Marine, where is we spent the winter doing some refit (though I have to say, it was a lot colder than we had counted on!)


My family has been going to Emerald Isle for decades. The beaches have noticeably changed over the years, particularly the western point that has filled in a shallow arm of the ocean with sand.

An entire, brand-new island emerged from the surf this year just off Hatteras Cape Point. It was duly named Shelly Island, and grew until it joined the Point, with only a small stream separating them at high tide. It’s 27 acres in size, and did all this in less than one year. Don’t underestimate Mother Nature’s ability to build — and destroy.

Aah, but it is only the atolls that are growing — all the rest is going to be inundated real soon.
Watch for climate refugees from all over to flock to Tuvalu.

Bruce Cobb

Does this mean no more underwater cabinet meetings like this one?


They intend to milk that climate aid money cow for all they can get. I don’t blame them.

R Taylor

Maldivians have more to fear from their political class than from anything else, in common with most other people.


Interesting about the Maldives. Coral was decimated from use as a building material due to a a massive increase in tourism from the 1970s onwards. UNESCO flagged up that at that rate it would be gone in another 30 years. A ban was put on the stripping of Coral in the early 90s. Of course it was so far gone that the Maldives were in trouble from erosion by the sea but it suited the needs of the greenies who blamed it on sea level rise. Today the coral has grown back and the islands are doing fine.


Despite Brexit, Trump and the Russians.


I quite like that:”Brexit and Trump and the Russians, oh my!”
Repeat ad nauseam until 2024.


Even Bikini Atoll where Castle Bravo (15 MT) blew away a large part of the Western end of the atoll looks unchanged if you go compare 1953 pictures with 2018 Google Earth pictures. The intervening 65 years of when Climate Change happenings were supposed to be visible outside our windows, the atoll looks little changed.
And then, anyone with true thinking skills (apparently not climate scientists though) would also realize that those coral atolls somehow have managed to survive 30+ global glacial cycles of rising and falling seas. This end-Holocene 2-3 mm/yr SLR is trivial and must be the hoo-hum business-as-usual scenario to them.

All this we hear about rising atolls/reefs and formation of river deltas was standard ‘o’ level geography in the UK over 50 years ago. Talk about re-inventing the wheel (no doubt at great cost to the taxpayer).

Terry C

73.5 ha = 181.6 acres.
A quarter section is 160 acres. That is an area approx 1/2 mile by 1/2 mile.


Something to consider. If the islands are growing faster than sea level rise then they are displacing precious marine habitat which may lead to the extinction of previously undiscovered organisms. In the interest of preserving everything, even the stuff we don’t know about, for future generations we should begin bulldozing those portions of the islands that have demonstrated growth back into the sea. I’m going to start a fund for the purchase and transportation of bulldozers and paying adequate compensation to islanders for any losses. Details for making contributions are available from my attorneys, Hill, Gott and Gaines, Suite 4057 in the Dewey Cheatem Memorial Building.

Crispin in Waterloo

I have communicated my willingness to participate in the venture. Please refer to the letter sent through my attorneys Soakem, Split and Hyde, Waterloo (not the dry pit kind).

February 9, 2018 at 12:07 pm
Sorry, your address is wrong…it should be Suite 97(%).

Paul Penrose

I thought that was the Dewey Cheatem & Howe Memorial Building.


I’m sure all of the climate communicators will be diligent to let everyone know about this.

Joel Snider

So… I guess the only question is HOW AGW caused the islands to grow and how THAT’s going to destroy the planet.

Extreme Hiatus

The heat causes the islands and all land to expand. Then as the oceans shrink the other heat hiding deep in them will break out and cause them to boil. The fleeing plankton will then rise up, block out the sun and everything will die. Quite sad really. If only we had listened to the warnings…


The climate Change definition is so malleable for the Disinformation campaign being waged by the neo-Marxist climate hustlers. The dumb Bachelor of Arts journalists likely don’t realize how the climate hustlers have got them to use that term in any way that is supportive of their cause.
To wit: Here in this article we find “climate change” is used to represent the difference between the glaical period and the current Holocene.


So, the atoll(s) which make up the islands are becoming more buoyant?

Gary Pearse

“…The first …analysis …” of pacific atolls was postulated correctly by Darwin and it was taught to me in geology in the 1950s. It was definitively established that atolls’ foundations of coral grew to keep pace with the sea level rise of 120m following deglaciation, the melting of ~55million cubic metres of ice.
On Bikini Atoll, holes were drilled before detonation of an atomic bomb test by the US and it was the first hard evidence of this nature of coral islands. I can’t find a link.

Gary Pearse

cubic kilometers.

Javert Chip

It’s amazing Darwin (more or less) correctly figured this out simply by observation and primitive analysis. Well, perhaps not so primitive.

Javert, he didn’t even have the benefit of observation. He wrote his theory on coral before he first saw a coral reef.
Amazing indeed,

Darwins 1842 coral atoll hypothesis proven ~1908, and again at Bikini 1953. Completely ignored by warmunists raising Pacific Island refugee alarm. The sheer amount of previously known stuff willfully ignored/surpressed is astounding. Polar bears depend on spring ice during the seal whelping season, NOT late summer ice. Coral bleaching is a natural and eventually healthy reef symbiont thing. Sea water is buffered so ‘ocean acidification’ is grossly overstated. Rising CO2 causes C3 plant greening.
Then there is the outright ‘lying’ and academic misconduct. Mann erasing historical evidence of natural climate variation in the handle of his hockey stick, in addition to his ‘Nature trick’. OLeary and his abrupt sea level rise (essay By Land or by Sea). Fabricius Milne Bay corals (essay Shell Games). In the annals of history of science (Oreskes supposed academic specialty) CAGW is going to be an ugly chapter, with Oreskes prominently featured.


feminazi climate communicator: “So are you saying that it would be better if Tuvalu were struck by an asteroid?”

J Mac

Bernie Sanders thinks that Socialism is……. Good?
Does he also think starving people eating dogs, rats, and garbage in socialist Venezuela is good?

Javert Chip


Patrick MJD

The fact that Sanders compares climate change, which humans have actually adapted to, to an asteroid strike shows he’s a uninformed twit!

This tactic is very common among interviewers with an axe to grind against their subject. An article in The Atlantic described an interview between a British journalist and a conservative professor, and had this example of the same approach, wherein the professor was asked to explain a discussion in his book about the social hierarchies found among lobsters.
Professor: There’s this idea that hierarchical structures are a sociological construct of the Western patriarchy. And that is so untrue that it’s almost unbelievable. I use the lobster as an example: We diverged from lobsters evolutionarily history about 350 million years ago. And lobsters exist in hierarchies… [He goes on for several more sentences, even pointing out that lobsters and humans are close enough evolutionarily that antidepressants work on lobsters.]
Interviewer: Let me get this straight. You’re saying that we should organize our societies along the lines of the lobsters?
The whole conversation reads like a Monty Python sketch.


That comparison doesn’t make any sense. Isn’t that the very definition of a strawman argument? And people actually vote for this guy? But then again, i’m not even surprised. Disappointed, but not surprised.

Anders Otte

I’m not a scientist, but it seems clear to me, that the reason Tuvalu and the Maldives were chosen as poster childs for the “rapidly rising ocean” (must be pronounced just like Al Gore) is plate tectonics. Tuvalu is right in the hotspot (a little to the north east – but close) where the eurasia, oceania and pacific plates smash together and Tuvalu is situated on the pacific plate in a submission zone. Maldives is almost straight on top of a fault zone. So it looks to me that someone had hoped for some luck to abuse plate tectonics to say “what did I say ?!?” (again please pronounce it like Al Gore).

atolls sink due to erosion and the deformation of the earths crust due to the weight of the land/volcano on which they formed.
eventually the land sinks beneath the waves and only coral is left. fringing reefs become atolls.

Warren Blair

Thank God for:
A ‘dimming’ sun.
Rising tectonics plates.
And Donald Trump.

Gunga Din

Hmmm….It seems that Tuvalu is more fortunate to have escaped CAGW’s flooding than California has been in escaping CAGW’s flooding caused by CAGW’s permanent drought.
(Well, at least the CAGW droughts in those areas that have always been called “deserts”.)


Doesn’t the article say that 27% of islands decreased in size? That sounds like roughly 27% of islands will have to adapt to sea level rises which sounds pretty significant (particularly if you’re unfortunate enough to own land there), so I’m not sure that this article makes the case that coral atolls uniformly don’t have a problem and we should just dismiss the issue.

corals die on the leeward side and. grow on the windward side. contrary to what might be expected, storms are critical to reef health. similar to fire being critical to forest health.


The article said that one island completely disappeared and four other smaller ones decreased in size by 50%. Is that usual over 40 years?

Javert Chip

No, it does not say “…27% of islands will have to adapt to sea level rises….”
It says “…27% of islands decreased in size…”.
Decreasing in size does not prove rising seas (why am I having to explain this?).


Sure- but we know that ocean is rising from a wealth of other data right? (satellites, tide gauges, historical records etc)

Michael Jankowski

Geez Bertrand…I guess it is “pretty significant” and downright terrible if 100% of islands don’t remain at their identical size throughout history or something?
Almost without exception, these islands should have been decreasing in size due to sea level rise according to the scaremongers. Skeptics cried BS. And it turns out that it isn’t 100% of islands shrinking…or 99%…or 90%…or 85%…or 80%…or whatever. It’s way down at 27%.
But to you, this is bad news.

Another local example…
Kench et al., 2015
“The geological stability and existence of low-lying atoll nations is threatened by sea-level rise and climate change. Funafuti Atoll, in the tropical Pacific Ocean, has experienced some of the highest rates of sea-level rise (∼5.1 ± 0.7 mm/yr), totaling ∼0.30 ± 0.04 m over the past 60 yr. We analyzed six time slices of shoreline position over the past 118 yr at 29 islands of Funafuti Atoll to determine their physical response to recent sea-level rise. Despite the magnitude of this rise, no islands have been lost, the majority have enlarged, and there has been a 7.3% increase in net island area over the past century (A.D. 1897–2013).”
And the same goes for the entire globe (land area is expanding faster than sea level is rising)…
Donchyts et al., 2016
Earth’s surface water change over the past 30 years [1985-2015]
Earth’s surface gained 115,000 km2 of water and 173,000 km2 of land over the past 30 years, including 20,135 km2 of water and 33,700 km2 of land in coastal areas.”

Scientists Surprised?
BBC press release
Coastal areas were also analysed, and to the scientists’ surprise, coastlines had gained more land – 33,700 sq km (13,000 sq miles) – than they had been lost to water (20,100 sq km or 7,800 sq miles).
We expected that the coast would start to retreat due to sea level rise, but the most surprising thing is that the coasts are growing all over the world,” said Dr Baart. “We were able to create more land than sea level rise was taking.”
The researchers said Dubai’s coast had been significantly extended, with the creation of new islands to house luxury resorts.
“China has also reconstructed their whole coast from the Yellow Sea all the way down to Hong Kong,” said Dr Baart.

Testut et al., 2016
“We show that Grande Glorieuse Island has increased in area by 7.5 ha between 1989 and 2003, predominantly as a result of shoreline accretion […] accretion occurred over 47% of shoreline length, whereas 26% was stable and 28% was eroded. Topographic transects and field observations show that the accretion is due to sediment transfer from the reef outer slopes to the reef flat and then to the beach. This accretion occurred in a context of sea level rise: sea level has risen by about 6 cm in the last twenty years and the island height is probably stable or very slowly subsiding. This island expansion during a period of rising sea level demonstrates that sea level rise is not the primary factor controlling the shoreline changes. This paper highlights the key role of non-climate factors in changes in island area, especially sediment availability and transport.”
Palanisamy et al., 2015
“[B]y 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.”


Perhaps the most far-reaching aspect of the Kench paper abstract is the finding that – “Island change has lacked uniformity with 74% increasing and 27% decreasing in size.”
Isolated declarations that this or that island has succumbed to rising sea levels are shown to be meaningless. The Tuvalu group data discloses that islands are either growing and shrinking all the time. But, even in an environment of constantly rising sea levels, 3 out of 4 grow larger over a period of 40 years.
The Small Island Group of UNFCCC negotiators have no case for special treatment. Their clients enjoy NET GAINS from the effect of climate change on sea level rise, and their claims for large chunks of the $100 billion reparations fund must now be tempered to the level of actual (proven) adaptation costs.

K. Kasmirsen

Corals are capable of growing 2″ to 6″ year, far outpacing 3mm/year of sea level rise. That’s why atolls exist — they are living things that survive the total erosion of the volcanic islands they originally ringed. Corals also continuously spawn spores that can travel long distances — that’s how they establish themselves around new volcanic islands to begin with. The idea that the sea level rises we’re seeing can drown atolls is absurd.

Let’s do remember that corals are animals, not plants, and don’t reproduce via spores. They reproduce both sexually, and asexually via polyps.


I suppose this is a newly observed phenomenon of local sea level decline due to climate change. Or islands are expanding -like a yeast dough- due to warmer temperatures?
I am not a scientist by far and not very knowledgeable about these things either but it still seems quite challenging to me to imagine someone working an a paper or study like this without ever questioning his or her work. How can you find the energy to produce something like this? Doesn’t it ever appear to you, you might be having something wrong there and you should go back and figure it out? No? You just work on through until you finally go and look up the desired solution, put it on the end of it all and call out “Voilà!”.
… nevermind if nothing fits together. I am amazed. But then, I am no scientist, so that’s maybe something I just don’t understand.

Melinda February 10, 2018 at 6:05 am

I suppose this is a newly observed phenomenon of local sea level decline due to climate change. Or islands are expanding -like a yeast dough- due to warmer temperatures?

Actually, it is a phenomenon first explained by Charles Darwin. What happens is that storms throw coral sand and rubble up on to the atoll islands. This maintains and can even expand the islands despite constant erosion and despite sea level rise.

I am not a scientist by far and not very knowledgeable about these things either …

Clearly true. And when one is in that condition, let me recommend asking questions rather than boiling over with snark, ill humor, and accusations of bad faith.
Finally, this is simply an article about MEASUREMENTS of the areas of the various atolls. You may like them or dislike the measurements, but they are not someone’s “desired solution” as you claim. They are OBSERVATIONS of the real world, which we ignore at our own peril.
Best regards to you,


I find Teafuone island (section e in the image) quite interesting. Between 1971 and 1984 it move significantly to the northwest but by 2015 it had move southeast past it’s 1971 position to a new and larger final (well not final as it is still shifting) position. As storms and currents meander the islands follow along.

michael hart

Surely, “nuanced” must be one of the most abused words in the history of scientific publishing. It is most frequently used by those who know that they either completely wrong, failing, or have not much clue what they are talking about.
As a grad-student, I recall a fellow student being told by his supervisor that the way to write a paper describing a complete experimental failure to ‘synthesize XYZ’, was to use the phrase “towards XYZ” in the title. Someone really ought to write a simple guide for the MSM to interpret weasel-words in scientific publishing.

Isn’t one advancing science just as much by closing off incorrect avenues of investigation as by proving one’s pet theory to be correct?


Notice how the very first sentence of these climate papers is always a hysterical slogan. Even if the content of the paper that follows makes a nonsense out of it. Mindless genuflecting.

Kristi Silber

On the other hand, 8 islands in the Pacific have disappeared.
ptolemy: “Notice how the very first sentence of these climate papers is always a hysterical slogan. ” Yep, always. There’s a secret formula, you see, to nurture alarmism, known only to the 6335 (+/- 2.7594%) scientists publishing pseudoscience about climate. You’ve got the first step. Better be quiet about the rest or the secret pseudoscience police will come after you.

Kristi Silber February 10, 2018 at 11:41 pm

On the other hand, 8 islands in the Pacific have disappeared.

Yep. Since time began, atolls in the Pacific have appeared, been reshaped, changed locations, changed sizes, and in some cases disappeared. So what? None of this changes what Darwin discovered—in general, coral atolls are CREATED by rising seas, not destroyed by them.
I note also that the cowards who wrote the article you linked to didn’t even have the stones to name the islands that they claim had disappeared … perhaps that impressed you, or perhaps you didn’t even notice, but it depressed me. The state of climate journalism sucks. Come back when you can give us the names of all eight disappeared islands so we can see what you are complaining about.

Extreme Hiatus

Can’t forget the early victim in the Atlantic: Atlantis. Apparently it was “dieties” not that did it. Or maybe that’s just what the Greeks called CO2. Seems that both have similar powers.

Tide gauge shows not so dramatic rise. Data ends in 2014.


I’d like to point out the number of ‘islands’ above the normal sea level is a very misleading statistic. A small sand island on a reef disappears easily. It may be cut in two and the number increases. It may increase in size after wind and waves push the sand stream uphill.
If you limit your study to big islands, or small islets with some vegetation, or to all islets, you’ll get different results. If you measure just the amount of vegetation, you’ll get again a different result. Human influences other than sea level are probable. Only very small part of the local relative sea level changes are human caused.
Now look at the satellite picture above. See the small islets around the two reefs?
They are temporary, highly dependent on random weather events that put them together. While sea level rises (mostly just by high tide, low pressure, ENSO cycle and random storms) they WILL disappear to waves, and reappear as new dead coral is being pushed uphill.
So a couple of reefs, some small islets there tell very little on human influence. There is not a monotonic destruction going on, but the same constant change that has been going on for thousands and millions of years. The less sea level rises, the less coral grows up building new reef. The more sea oscillates, the more dead coral it produces. Reef is built from dead coral.

In 2016, the UNFCCC’s “Green Climate Fund” approved a grant of US$23 million for Vanuatu’s “Climate Information Services for Resilient Development” project. This project needed to be funded before anyone noticed Vanuatu’s relative sea level has been dropping for the last nine years.comment image

Eric Zepp

“So much extra water is being added to the world’s oceans from melting glaciers that the ocean floor is sinking underneath the increasing weight. This ocean floor deformation also means we have miscalculated just how much ocean levels are rising, and the problem could be far worse than previously believed.
Over the past 20 years, ocean basins have sunk an average of 0.004 inches per year. This means that the ocean is 0.08 inches deeper than it was two decades ago. While this small fragment of an inch may not seem much, oceans cover 70 percent of our planet, making the problem bigger than it seems at first glance.”
I don’t want to sound a denialist, but this is faking awesome. Not because it is so stupid but because the scientists who understand the issue don’t want to touch the public debate even with a long stick.
I’m convinced science writing should be left to stem educated people with guts.

Eric Zepp

I hope the “irony” of my comment by using the article was apparent.

Ryan S. P.Geo

Coral atolls define sea level they aren’t inundated by rises. The melt water pulses, during the glacial retreats, produced sea level rise rates occasionally in excess of 5cm/year. (Build an Ark!)
Almost every known coral island, or reef, had no problem keeping up with those rises, as long as water temperatures remained above 20 degrees C. The carbonate factory is never on strike as long as the water is warm.
Drowning reefs and atolls just isn’t going to happen regardless of what climatologist’s hope.