Last year it became apparent that five islands on the Pacific were missing. Part of the Solomon Islands, several low-coral islands, have been flooded with sea levels since the middle of the 20th century.
The islands were not inhabited, but some are near. Large areas have been completely washed away with six such islands, and two villages have been destroyed by an increased sea level.
This troubling trend is obviously continuing. New research has shown that the Pacific Ocean is flooding more and more islands in Micronesia.
Patrick Nunn, a geography professor and co-director of the Australian Center for Sustainability Research at Sunshine Coast University, spent coastal exploration of the island in Micronesia. He and his team talked to the local population and survey satellite images of the island of Pohnpei and the surrounding islands.
The team watched the effect of rising sea levels in these areas. They found that the great islands were completely gone.
"Once there was the famous island of Nahlapenlohd," Nunn wrote to Kaselehlie Press . "This island was so big that in 1850 it was a busy battle; some story remembers the fighters who were hiding behind coconut palms to avoid bullet bullets. Today there is no trace on the island of Nahlapenlohd, even the humid sand that would mark where it used to be. "
Nunn attributes this disappearance to rising sea levels, claiming that the level has been rising steadily in most Pacific areas over the last 50 years with fewer fluctuations.
Many missing islands have, however, been subject to erosion, including the island of Nahtik, which declined by 70 percent, and the island of Ros, which lost about 60 percent of its land mass since 2007. Nun and his team believe that this dramatic disappearance is due to Bruun's effect where the rising sea takes sand from the higher parts of the beach and lands near the shore.
"It is difficult to establish with certainty, but the weight of evidence suggests that rising sea levels is the reason why sandy islands from the southern coral reefs of the Pohnpei islands disappear or diminish," Nunn wrote.
On the positive side, researchers hardly found any erosion along the coast of the main island of Pohnpei, which is largely protected by the surrounding mangrove forest.