A Sinking Nation Of Tuvalu Has Grown In Size Instead Of Shrinking, A New Study Reveals

A group of islands in the Pacific known as the nation of Tuvalu, which comprises of a group of low-lying isles, could disappear in a period time because of the rising of the sea level. However, new research indicates that the nation is growing and not shrinking, according to a new study. Tuvalu is also referred to as Ellice Islands and located in the Pacific Ocean, midway between Australia and Hawaii.

The study published in the journal Nature Communications indicates that the small islands of Tuvalu have grown in size over the last four decades. The researchers from the University of Auckland have investigated the geography of Tuvalu’s nine atolls, including 101 reef islands between 1971 and 2014, utilizing the satellite imagery and aerial photographs, according to Phys.org.

Paul Kench, a co-author of the study, challenged the notion that small islands could diminish as the sea level rises. He said that they tend to think of Pacific atolls as static landforms that would merely inundate as sea levels rise. However, there is growing evidence that these islands are geologically dynamic and are always changing.

The results of the study showed that the size of Tuvalu has augmented by almost three percent since 1970. There is additional 73.5 hectares or 181.6 acres of new land over the islands in the last 40 years. However, there is an increase of the sea level, about 73 of Tuvalu’s 101 islands have become more significant now, according to UPI.

Kench said that the study might seem unreasonable or contradictory because the sea level has been increasing in the area over the past century. On the other hand, the dominant mode of change over that time on Tuvalu has been expansion and not erosion. The scientists think that wave patterns, particularly the storm waves, have conferred and added to the sediment deposition that expands the group of islands of Tuvalu.

The results of the study prompted the islands to respond to the problem of a threat of climate change rather than thinking of migrating to Australia and New Zealand. The researchers advised that they should start planning for a long-term future. These include moving populations onto larger islands and atolls that are stable and could likely to grow as seas rise. They said that embracing new adaptation pathways could present considerable national scale challenges to planning, development goals, and land tenure systems.