Top 10 ISLANDS That Will SOON DISAPPEAR
At an average rate of 3 mm per year, the sea level continues to rise, and though it may sound like a negligible amount, this increase only threatens to get worse. From rising temperatures, glacier melt, ice sheet melt, and alterations to land water storage, the rate will continue to increase, reaching a projected estimate of about 1 meter by 2100. Even at the current rate, we’re at risk of losing these ten submerging islands, which are destined to vanish within our lifetimes.
We may have covered Maldives in a prior Archive, but it’s an inevitable loss worth mentioning twice. Of course, climate change takes the bulk of the blame for slowly chipping away at this South Asian island nation, leaving near 394,000 people concerned about their home. As the world’s lowest country, with an average elevation of 14’ (4.5 m), the Maldives government has a viable plan to protect approximately 130,000 of its people. By 2023, the nation hopes to complete the City of Hope, which will reside on Hulhumale, an artificial island equipped with 9’ (3 m)-high walls. With the success of Hulhumale, chances are more will follow to accommodate the remainder of its population.
Since the 17th century, Tangier Island in Virginia has attracted numerous families with the promise of nice, coastal living. Four centuries later and the descendants of those inhabitants are looking at facing the loss of their familial abodes – and not because of money issues. With an average elevation of 3.5’ (~1 m), the island has been facing erosion for years and is even said to be about 1/3 of its size in the 1950s. Along with climate change, the island is facing changes in the Gulf Stream, which is causing the Atlantic to rise at an increased rate.
As early as 2009, natives on these Papua New Guinea islands were fearing the effects of erosion and rising sea levels. With a high point of only 5’ (1.5 m) above the water, the islands have suffered storm surges and decreased food supplies, forcing many natives to relocate. In 2016, the Tulele Peisa group started working with the local population in hopes of relocating more than half of the over 2,000 people that remain on the islands by 2020.
Kind of out in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, the island nation of Tuvalu is panicking at the thought of rising sea levels and climate change. While many islands face future disaster, Tuvalu’s islands are actually pegged to be one of the first people to lose their homeland thanks to climate change. The nation’s ambassador, Aunese Makoi Simati, pled to the U.S. and United Nations for help, claiming they’re already facing contaminated watering holes and the damaging of crops. To assist the nation, New Zealand opens its borders to 70 Tuvaluans each year, but with a population of near 10,000, at that rate, the island’s will surely be gone before they’re empty.
On one hand, you have officials claiming there’s no threat to the Marshall Islands. On the other, you have locals fleeing from the island chain and images of the aftermath of king tide events as recent as 2015. One thousand islands make up the Marshall Islands and, of those, most barely stretch 6’ (1.8 m) above sea level. Catching the attention of the U.S. Government is the atoll of Kwajalein, on which sits the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site. In 2008, a tidal wash flooded the site, ultimately destroying the freshwater supplies for the 1,200 Americans living on the base.
Different from the Torres Strait Islands, the Torres Islands are located in the Torba Province of Vanuatu. Within the chain lies the island of Tegua, a sliver of land that many think is doomed. In 2005, the natives of Tegua were lovingly labeled by the U.N. the “first climate change refugees,” especially after entire villages were relocated due to rising water levels. At 4 miles (6.4 km) long and 10 miles (16 km) wide, it wouldn’t take much to permanently sink the island, as demonstrated when a typhoon completely decimated the beach near the village of Lateu.
The Torres Strait Islands
Suffering from rising sea levels, unpredictable and extreme weather conditions, damaging tides, and coastal erosion, the 200+ small islands of the Torres Strait Islands, located just northeast of Queensland, Australia, may soon be no more. According to climate reports on the region, the sea level rose near double its normal rate of .12” (3.22 mm) per year during the stretch of 1993 to 2010 and, in the 1940s, Saibai island already suffered from flooding in when a water spout drowned crops and contaminated drinking wells with sea water
Made up of 365 individual islands, the mostly undeveloped region of San Blas in Panama is facing a rise in sea level of approximately three-quarters of an inch per year. Couple that with poor resource management and large amounts of carbon dioxide emissions and you have yourself the recipe for a sinking island. At its current rate of increase, it’s likely that the San Blas islands will vanish from our maps within the next 20 to 30 years, which gives locals some time to come to terms with being displaced from their homeland.
The World Islands
If you were to fly over the Persian Gulf, looking over the waters just west of Dubai, you’d find a rather strange, albeit familiar-looking formation of islands. Known as The World, this archipelago is a man-made recreation of a map of the world, using individual islands to form the continents. Initially intended to be purchased by millionaires, there may be a different future in store for The World. News of the islands eroding and vanishing back into the sea broke when British lawyer Richard Wilmont-Smith QC pointed to evidence of erosion and deterioration.
Connected to Kenya by a pair of roads that lead into Kongowea and Changamwe, the island of Mombasa could soon be leaving a small gap on the eastern coast of the African country. Marred by commercial greed and the threat of climate change, scientists have had their eye on the island of Mombasa, fearing it could sink into the sea by around 2062. Beyond rising sea levels, man has done a number on the region, creating boreholes used to filter in water for commercial use. The abundance of these holes continues to hinder the integrity of the island, leading to a grim future prognosis.