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« Air Con interview for our Queensland readers: 4BC this afternoon | Main | Reviews of Air Con: The Seriously Inconvenient Truth About Global Warming »


Sam Vilain

You've found a couple of news sources showing that the island is subsiding. But what other than those news sources do you have? Certainly the minutes from the meetings of the inhabitants don't mention the techtonic activity ( Subsidence of 20cm/year would be an order of magnitude larger than normal.

If you're so amused it must be because you have some actual evidence to the contrary. Do you?

Sam Vilain

BTW here's a paper which characterises the change of the nearby Huon gulf of 5.7 mm/yr as "rapid subsidence".

What words would they use to describe 200mm/year?


Sam...nine years ago the islands were four metres above sea level...according to the latest report they are now about one metre do the math and convince me CO2 has caused a three metre rise in sea levels around one island....I'm sure you can do it.



Pardon me for butting in here.

"If you're so amused it must be because you have some actual evidence to the contrary. Do you?"

Actually, yes.

I know it's in the opposite direction, but what about the Napier earthquake which resulted in over 2000 hectares of extra land rising up to 2 metres in what??? 2.5 minutes!

Would seem likely you could easily get an effect in the opposite direction (downwards movement might even be easier than upwards) of a similar magnitude over many years.

Makes the 5.7mm per year you quoted as rapid seem a little trivial, doesn't it :-D


Earthquakes can cause rapid sudsidence...

For those who saw the TVNZ piece, it appears they borrowed the concept from an ABC piece two years ago, according to Jennifer Marohasy:

Our national broadcaster, the ABC, has struck again with a new low in responsible journalism.

In ‘PNG - That Sinking Feeling’, broadcast last night as part of the ‘Foreign Correspondent’ program, reporter Steve Marshall has trashed any credibility the ABC had left on environmental reporting.

The unambiguous message in the documentary and all the introductory material was that here was firm “evidence” of rising sea levels producing climate refugees.

The most powerful scene was of one islander and the reporter standing waist deep in water where the islanders father had once had his veggie patch. The implication being that sea levels had risen by close to two metres over recent decades.

The only problem with this is that the Carteret Islands are only a short distance from Bougainville where no such sea level rise has been reported.

And Sam, therein lies your problem. You're fast becoming a "reality denialist".

John Hudson

The fact is Ian that two Australian scientists - one a oceanographer and the other a geologist - were on Takuu when it flooded. They both conclude that Takuu is not sinking because ancient fossil reefs are still at the surface. I respect the views of the anthropologist who was quoted in the NZ Herald nine years ago ( although I believe he told the Herald the Island was eroding not sinking) but I am told the physical evidence shows Takuu is not sinking. I am looking forward to reading the peer-reviewed scientific paper on this issue from experts who have actually been there.


Actually, yes.

"I know it's in the opposite direction, but what about the Napier earthquake which resulted in over 2000 hectares of extra land rising up to 2 metres in what??? 2.5 minutes!"

Yeah Robk.

Good point.

Also what about all those archaeological sites now under the Meditterrean Sea?

Here's a few in Egypt that come to mind.

But the location of the sunken cities of Menouthis and Herakleion might have remained a mystery if not for a unique collaboration among scientists, archaeologists and underwater explorers.

"In Alexandria itself," writes Nur, "both historical records and archaeological evidence of collapse have shown that the city was devastated both onshore and offshore by an earthquake in the mid- to late-eighth century A.D., and by one or two earlier earthquakes sometime during the period 200 to 600 A.D."


John, I don't think there has been a peer reviewed study on Takuu's problem because the atoll is seen as insignificant.

By the same token, you also can't escape the reality that no peer reviewed study exists that confirms rising CO2 levels are the cause of Takuu's problem.

However, this much we do know. The islands have been losing around 20cm a year. That's 200mm.

Worst case sea level rise in the region has been around 8mm a year, not 200.

These are established facts, verifiable by satellite data etc.

Takuu sits at the edge of the Pacific plate, where it is also documented the plate is sinking.

The area is highly volcanic (Takuu itself sits atop a volcanic seamount), and subject to extensive earthquakes which, as we know, can cause land to move up or down by metres in the biggest quakes. Given that the Pacific plate is sinking, movement upward for Takuu would be against the trend, so when quakes happen it might be slipping down an inch at a time or whatever the figure is.

The problem of sinking Pacific atolls is reasonably well documented in scientific literature, even if not on Takuu specifically:

"The researchers' numerical models show how old, dense and relatively stiff plates tend to flatten upon reaching the upper-lower mantle boundary, 'draping' on top of it. Their models are helping to explain plate movements and earthquakes in the Western Pacific, where old plates currently sink below Tonga, the Mariana Islands and Japan."

The Mariana trench, incidentally, is a hop, skip and a jump to the north west of Takuu.

Pleading for a peer reviewed study of Takuu is not really a valid fend-off. You still have to bridge the gap between measured sea level rise in the region, against specific sea level rise at Takuu. There is no mechanism in climate change theory to explain why levels would rise three metres around one particular atoll and only 10 cm everywhere else over the same time period.

I think you'll find the coral issue is being misunderstood...whatever the explanation for ancient coral at the surface, it doesn't get you past the factual problems I've already outlined.

Don't forget the coral is attached to the same seamount and will move relative to Takuu Island itself, so if ancient coral has always been at the surface it will continue to do so until the entire lot sinks.


Of interest.

Islands of Coral

One particularly interesting type of coral island is the atoll. Here a coral reef forms in a circle around a volcanic island. But then the island starts to sink into the ocean due to plate movement and contraction in the ocean floor. This happens slowly, so as the coral moves downwards into the ocean, the polyps build upwards to stay in shallow water. Eventually the island has disappeared under the sea and all that is left is a circlular reef of coral, with a protected 'lagoon' in the middle. This is an atoll.

The Death of Islands

A small island may be eroded by the elements until there is nothing left above water. This was the fate of the westernmost of the Hawaiian islands, which are now under the sea.

John Boy

Another example of these changes is seen in some columns in the ruins of the temple of Jupiter Serapis in the Bay of Naples. In 1830 the temple platform was one foot below water level but three slender marble columns extending from it have marine borings from shell fish to a height of 24 feet. Its known this temple was dry in 200 AD so the ruins have gone down and then back up again up more than 24 feet in about 1600 years without the colums being shaken enough to topple them. It could be sea level changes but in any case what someone in 200AD would have seen as the norm wasn't.
In 1830 the sceintists were smart enough to see this for what it was - the earth changes (and by big amounts) with us just being fleas on the back of the dog. It may have been primitive science in 1830 but I suspect that was healthy - there weren't grants and politicians like we see today clouding the issues.

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