Julio Godoy at The Other News:
Islands could fall off the map: Sylt, the largest of Germany’s Frisian islands, in the North Sea, lost at least 800,000 cubic metres of sand from its beaches in the last two months, because of heavy storms and flooding that have marked the northern hemisphere autumn and winter seasons.
On the other side of the planet, in the south-western Pacific Ocean, Tuvalu, a tiny archipelago of nine atolls and reefs, with the highest point just five metres above sea level, is suffering a similar loss of land, and for the same reasons.
“Tuvalu is drowning!” is the alarm that the island’s officials have been sounding for years.
Sylt, Tuvalu and dozens of other islands, like those of the Caribbean, are the most vulnerable to the continued rise in the Earth’s average temperatures, which according to the Fourth Assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), presented Feb. 2 in Paris, could reach a 4-degree Celsius increase by 2100.
Global warming, produced by emissions of gases that cause the greenhouse effect in the Earth’s atmosphere, is making sea levels rise as polar ice melts, as well as intensifying storms and hurricanes, with stronger winds and heavier rains, taking a heavy toll on humans and the natural environment.
According to the IPCC assessment, in this century the sea level could rise 28 to 43 centimetres as a result of climate change. For the people living on Sylt, Tuvalu and similar islands, this could literally mean their disappearance from the world map.