Rising Waters Submerge First Inhabited Island

Tue, 2006-12-26 12:44Ross Gelbspan
Ross Gelbspan's picture

Rising Waters Submerge First Inhabited Island

For the first time ever, an inhabited island has vanished under rising sea levels. The Indian island of Lohachara existed at a point where the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers empty into the Bay of Bengal. No more.

Comments

No more what? The problem with swallowing every article that appears is that it makes one appear gullible. Exactly where is the island located? Did 10,000 people really live on this island? Is rapidly rising sea levels a local phenomenom? (If it is, it’s news to the experts) Have other ocean and climate scientists confirmed this? (No, but for scare effect, the article can’t be beat) At present, for credibility, I will file this with the drowning polar bear myth. Regards,
And I will file your comments under “further proof that you continue to keep your head firmly planted in the sand.”

Alas, what you meant to say was: firmly planted in the facts. :) Regards,

I think Paul raises an excellent point. The media hasn’t historically proven to be all that precise in it’s reporting of science so I think he’s right to question it.

The problem is when individuals from both sides of the debate only question the side they oppose, not just every article.

What is important is the peer-reviewed scientific evidence in science journals. I’m interested to see what the researchers at Jadavpur University actually publish.

I read this story today, but I have to admit that I don’t believe it, despite my being a natural scientist who trusts the judgement of climatologists (the experienced ones, not the arm-waving or arm-chair versions at the Friends of Science/NRSP). The rise in sea level so far is too small. I suspect that this story is really about some bad storms doing away with a near-sea level island… The storms may or may not be related to greenhouse gases, etc.
(And I say that reluctantly, since it makes me appear to agree with some of the fatuous comments above.)

The issue of sea level rise seems very simple, but like so many realities, it is not.

This island was at the confluence of two major rivers. Because of its location, increased river flows could have swamped some (or all) of the island. If river flow did not swamp the island, it may have eroded the island.

Tectonic activity causes some coastal areas to subside and others (through subduction) to raise up. The Atlantic Ocean has a major rift running north-south caused by the American plate moving away from the European and African plates. Because of this many parts of the surrounging coastlines are subsiding. Consequently sea level changes referenced to spots along the Atlantic coasts are greater than the mean change in sea level because the groung is sinking.

On the West Coast, the American plate is generally raising over the Pacific plate. This causes the coast to rise. If you hike into the coastal mountains (San Padres National Forest) you can observe sea bed at elevations of 500 to 1,000 m above current sea level.

Therefore, without more information it is not possible to make the leap of faith that Ross attemps to make in his short article. Before one can state a claim about sea level rise obliterating the island, it would really help to know if:
1. the river flow remained consistent over the past 20 - 50 years, and
2. that the island was tectonically stable (or at least not subsiding).

Tim says:

So it is wrong to blame Global Warming for the disappearance of Lohachara island.

So it would seem that Ross is wrong on this.

I cannot belive that some people dont believe it is happening. Have a look at http://www.itv.com/news/index_8173d34e6cbfd5d33223284330797ad4.html Verified that the main road through the island is over three feet under water a recent ocurrance and the inhabitants have been evacuated. Perhaps all you doubters should stop chatting and start taking action. Holidays abroad who will need them with global warming! There is a finite time to save our planet, take action!