As reported in the Science Daily News from the journal Nature comes the report that by pinpointing where ancient shorelines stood in the Bahamas and Bermuda researchers hope to be able to predict future rises in sea level. In an exceptionally warm period 400,000 years ago, seas rose 20 feet, up to a third less than previous estimates. The Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets may have melted during the warm phase, but the East Antarctic Ice sheet remained intact.
This isn’t exactly good news, given that even a 5 foot rise would swamp low lying countries like Bangladesh and the Pacific island nations. Kiribati President Anote Tong recently announced that his Cabinet has approved a plan to buy land on Fiji, in case the population of the tiny nation is forced to leave.
Let’s do the page 5 search to find out more on Kiribati:
The Kiribati National Staistics office tells us that the population in 2005 was 92,533 persons, with slightly more women than men.
Kiribati is extremely vulnerable to climate change, says Climatelab. Most of the 33 atolls are around 3 metres above sea level. Tawari, the main population center is less than 3 metres above sea level.
The British Foreign Office advises that Dengue Fever, which is transmitted by mosquitos, occurs in Kiribati, and presently there is no vaccination available. Also, of course, don’t drink the water.
Kiribati used to be called the Gilbert Islands, and became independent in 1971, according to the United Nations.
Brett Aldam is the Australian High Commissioner to Kiribati.