News Stories

A Country is Lost

The Maldives will soon be lost underwater. This touristdestination is being drowned by the rising sea level andwill be uninhabitable in one hundred years. Its 360,000citizens will have to find another country to take them in.

Nick Bryant writes in bbcnews.com that Male, the capital ofthe country, is surrounded by a ten-foot-high wall, whichtook 14 years to build. Japan paid for 99% of the cost. Butthis protects only one of the Maldives? 200 inhabitedislands, and there?s no way they afford to build wallsaround all of them, so some residents are already planningto leave. In Kandholhudhoo, an island in the north, 60% ofresidents have volunteered to evacuate over the next 15years. And the sea has already battered a huge hole in oneof the walls.

As global warming progresses, scientists have wonderedwhether new "Atlantises" will be created, as civilizationssink beneath the sea and are gradually forgotten. TheMaldives will probably be the first to go.

The breaking up of the Greenland ice sheet is one of thecauses of rising sea levels?and the pace is accelerating.David Shukman writes in bbcnews.com that icebergs arebreaking off the ice sheet and plunging into the ocean withloud cracks and thunderous crashes.

Carl Boggild of GEUS, the Geological Survey of Denmark andGreenland, has found that the edges of the ice-sheet aremelting 10 times more rapidly than earlier research hadindicated. Engravings from the late 19th Century show thatthe glacier once reached far into the ocean and satellitepictures highlight that it has shrunk almost 500 feet in thelast 15 years. 55% of the melting is due to warming in the air.

Boggild says, "Maybe if we look back after 50 years and seehow temperatures have risen, then we can call it climatechange?We can say for certain that the rate of melting hasincreased and we can say for certain that the height of theice-sheet is falling, even allowing for increased ice-flow.There is no doubt that something very major is happening here."

And it's drowning an island nation on the other side of theglobe.

This won't be the first time a world hasvanishedunderwater, with nothing left to mark its existence butlegend.

Photo credits: http://www.freeimages.co.uk/

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