However, I see her argument has fundamental weaknesses.
Cleo, I'm curious to know why your article failed to address the impact of dynamite fishing, chemical fishing, coral export and other daft anthropogenic impacts on tropical island communities that is a far more significant cause of percieved sea level rise than warming?
All of these things kill coral, weaken the outer atoll rims, allow more ocean rollers to enter lagoons and damage the central island, Takuu near PNG is a perfect case in point, where as a result of the above, and massive tectonic activity, the atolls have been sinking at a rate of up to 25cm a year.
On the subject of water tables, as you would be aware, fresh water floats on sea water, which is why Fiordland here in NZ can maintain a layer of fresh water in the Sounds.
The issue of saltwater encroachment into drinking water is misleading. There are no deep freshwater 'wells' as such on atolls, the islanders are merely dipping into the pool of fresh rainwater that already sits on top of the ocean but collected within the protection of the atoll. If human populations increase, as they have, or industrial demand for water grows, as it has, or it rains less in a given period, then the pool of freshwater diminishes and yes, sometimes people suck up brackish water instead. The idea that this is caused by rising sea levels is unscientific. A rising sea level would, in fact push the freshwater table up and out of the ground where some would evaporate (and fall again as rain) and some would trickle back to the lagoon and re enter the water table.
Of course, it goes without saying that for atolls whose outer reefs have been damaged by dynamite/chemical/coral harvesting, a resultant more turbulent lagoon would cause greater mixing of the fresh and saline, resulting in reduced water quality.
I'm assuming your book addresses these realities?