Persistence of Atoll Islands under sea-level rise

Date Published 2010, August 01

Authors Michiel Schaeffer, Bill Hare

Institution Climate Analytics

A recent study comparing satellite images with older aerial pictures of 27 central-Pacific Atoll islands found only 14% of the studied islands decreased in net land area, whereas 43% increased in net area. The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Global and Planetary Change by authors Webb (South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission, SOPAC, Fiji) and Kench (University of Auckland, New Zealand). These observations showed that the gross change in island area was generally much larger than changes in net area. This means most islands were observed to be ‘dynamic’: shorelines have shifted, with erosion on one side mostly compensated or overcompensated by accretion on another side, in most cases providing growth, of net land area.