Climate Change: February 2011 Archives

Climate Change Emigrants

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From flooding to severe storms, the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent. Although it is nearly impossible to link specific incidents directly to climate change, a recent study suggests that rising global temperatures and the ensuing changes in weather patters greatly increase the odds of extreme weather events such as this year's torrential rains in Australia.

Many islanders have long been speaking out about the disproportionate harm these extreme weather events and other effects of climate change will have on their homelands. With miles of coastlines, islands are highly sensitive to rising water levels and stronger ocean storms. At the same time, the geographic isolation of many islands makes them home to numerous endemic species, found nowhere else on earth, that are quickly endangered by changes in their habitat or climate. But the people who inhabit the thousands of islands around the globe are also endangered. In low-lying islands, rising sea levels mean less space in the near future and an unhappy eternity next door to Atlantis.

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Above, the beaches of Kiribati, a Pacific island nation threatened by rising sea levels. 
Photo from Wikimedia Commons