Three islands have disappeared in the past year.
Scientists say the same forces that sunk these remote islands could put coastlines around the world at risk. https://nbcnews.to/2I6aGKD (1/7)
Tebunginako was once a thriving village on the Pacific island nation of Kiribati.
But beginning in the 1970s, the tide started inching toward the houses, winds whipped up waves, sea levels rose, and a seawall crumbled.
Barely anything remains of the village today.
As human activities continue to alter the environment, islands are increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of changing climate.
“When it hits you directly, it's very difficult for you to deny it,” says Anote Tong, who served as president of Kiribati from 2003 to 2016. (3/7)
In Oct. 2018, Hurricane Walaka washed away a remote, 11-acre Hawaiian island (below).
Months before that, scientists reported a small Arctic island had disappeared.
At the end of 2018, a local newspaper reported an uninhabited islet near Japan could no longer be found. (4/7)
“With some of these small islands, maybe it’s no big deal to the average person because they’re uninhabited, but you’re going to see these same processes happen on larger islands and populated ones,” says Curt Storlazzi, a geologist at the US Geological Survey. (5/7)
Satellite photos taken last month show that a narrow swath of the Hawaiian East Island appears to be re-forming. But even if some islands do return, it’s unclear whether they will grow back to their original size, says Patrick Nunn, a geography professor in Australia. (6/7)
In 2013, the UN released a report projecting that without major reductions in emissions, sea levels could rise between 1.5 feet and 3 feet by 2100.
That amount of sea level rise is enough to engulf most coastlines, potentially displacing millions of people. (7/7) #NBCNewsThreads
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