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Hundreds of Pacific Islands are getting bigger despite global warming

January 11, 2021

By Paul Homewood



More confirmation of previous research by Dr Kench:



New research says hundreds of islands in the Pacific are growing in land size, even as climate change-related sea level rises threaten the region.

Key points:

  • Coral reef sediment was responsible for the increase in land size
  • Waves sweep up the sediment and deposit it on islands
  • However some islands are becoming smaller due to coastal erosion

Scientists at the University of Auckland found atolls in the Pacific nations of Marshall Islands and Kiribati, as well as the Maldives archipelago in the Indian Ocean, have grown up to 8 per cent in size over the past six decades despite sea level rise.

They say their research could help climate-vulnerable nations adapt to global warming in the future.


The scientists used satellite images of islands as well as on-the-ground analysis to track the changes.

Coastal geomorphologist Dr Paul Kench said coral reef sediment was responsible for building up the islands.

Dr Kench said in areas where coral reefs were healthy, enough sediment was being produced to cause islands to grow.

"The majority of islands in each of those nations has either got larger or stayed very similar in size," he said.

"So, you know, one of the remarkable takeaways of the work is that these islands are actually quite dynamic in a physical sense."

Full story here.

  1. January 11, 2021 5:54 pm

    Would be quite intriguing/educational to see an animated modeling of how such island chains (inc the Galapagos) shrunk as GSL rose ~ 400 ft between the end of the last glacial period and the Holocene

    That’s way out of my capabilities.

    • Duker permalink
      January 12, 2021 1:14 am

      The coral reef for an atoll can be 100s of meters thick. The new builds on the old as the SL raises. When it falls the surface erodes often with deep channels which produce the current ‘necklace’ effect with some atolls when the water rises again.
      This sort of research about growing atolls has been coming out for a decade or more, and yet its pooh poohed by ‘non reef scientists’ like the late Bill Harre , whos has no expertise here yet still get their ‘what aboutisms’ published

      Click to access 20100802_atollislandsformationandpersistence.pdf

      The reefs themselves have their own ‘vertical motion’ as the central volcanic island slowly sinks unconnected to the sea levels. It has to to do with basalt lack of buoyancy on the ocean crusts.

  2. Penda100 permalink
    January 11, 2021 6:15 pm

    How dare they! How dare the authors of the report talk about adaptation strategies! That’s far too sensible. Don’t they know that we have to fight climate change, destroy economies, wreck lives and make a few people very rich? They must immediately go out and sacrifice a few virgins before the angry weather gods destroy them.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      January 11, 2021 7:14 pm

      ..They need some of that thar “climate neutrality” (as per post on EU Green Deal….) 🙂

  3. Broadlands permalink
    January 11, 2021 7:23 pm

    It is also worth noting that the coral reef sediment being added is bio-carbonate that has sequestered CO2… and has done so for over a billion years…limestones! Humans cannot duplicate that feat in their misguided efforts to lower atmospheric CO2 by the billions of tons needed to affect the climate.

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