Bummer: Kiribatians May Move To Fiji To Escape Dangerous Sea Level Rise

That is, if the “international community doesn’t Do Something”, like give them vast amounts of redistributed money

(MSNBC) Fearing that climate change could wipe out their entire Pacific archipelago, the leaders of Kiribati are considering an unusual backup plan: moving the populace to Fiji.

Kiribati President Anote Tong told The Associated Press on Friday that his Cabinet this week endorsed a plan to buy nearly 6,000 acres on Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu. He said the fertile land, being sold by a church group for about $9.6 million, could provide an insurance policy for Kiribati’s entire population of 103,000, though he hopes it will never be necessary for everyone to leave.

“We would hope not to put everyone on one piece of land, but if it became absolutely necessary, yes, we could do it,” Tong said. “It wouldn’t be for me, personally, but would apply more to a younger generation. For them, moving won’t be a matter of choice. It’s basically going to be a matter of survival.”

I wonder if they realize their islands were created during a period when the seas were much higher? They were created by corals, which live….under water!

Some scientists have estimated the current level of sea rise in the Pacific at about 2 millimeters (0.1 inches) per year. Many scientists expect that rate to accelerate due to climate change.

Wait, estimated? So, no real hard data? They’re guesstimating? And, can they prove the rate will accelerate? Anyhow, .1 inches per year would be normal during a warm period: the average sea rise over the last 7,000 years is 6 inches per century, with, obviously, less or negative rise during cool periods. But, the sea levels have actually gone down as of late. And, to get all sciencey, let’s look at actual data for Kiribati

The Australian government operates a sea level station in Kiribati. The following figure shows the last available report (through mid-2009) showing sea level anomalies for 1993 through June 2009. [http://www-cluster.bom.gov.au/ntc/IDO60102/IDO60102.2009_1.pdf] Each grid line is 0.1 m on the vertical scale with the zero being the line above which positive anomalies are colored red and negative anomalies, blue.

(note: I’ve broken the graph up in two to fit in the post)

Anyhow, up, down, up, down, up, down. Anyone see massive sea level rise? Oh, sorry, it “could” happen 50-100 years down the road.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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