Via our friends at wattsupwiththat.com comes the sad story of South Talpatti Island (a/k/a New Moore Island) in the Bay of Bengal. Or, more precisely, South Talpatti is an ex-island. New Moore is No More, the latest victim of rising sea levels, melting glaciers and other Inconvenient Truths.
NEW DELHI – For nearly 30 years, India and Bangladesh have argued over control of a tiny rock island in the Bay of Bengal. Now rising sea levels have resolved the dispute for them: the island’s gone. …
“What these two countries could not achieve from years of talking, has been resolved by global warming,” said Hazra. …
Bangladesh, a low-lying delta nation of 150 million people, is one of the countries worst-affected by global warming. Officials estimate 18 percent of Bangladesh’s coastal area will be underwater and 20 million people will be displaced if sea levels rise 1 meter (3.3 feet) by 2050 as projected by some climate models.
It’s really no great loss. While AP insists on referring to its “rocky shores”, South Talpatti was never more than a glorified mud flat in a river delta. Nobody lived there. Its raison d’etre was to give India and Bangladesh one more meaningless thing to fight about.
But, wait a second. South Talpatti was first spotted on satellite imagery in 1974. Sounds like South Talpatti wasn’t all that permanent. And if Global Warming caused the island’s destruction, what forces caused it to rise from the sea just 36 years ago?
Journalists don’t know beans about science, and they care even less. They tend to rely on scientists to explain the science, without regard to whether those scientists have an agenda. Just know this: Global Warming means Big Bucks to impoverished, overpopulated and low-lying Bangladesh.
I live in Louisiana, so I know about land loss. The state has lost land area equivalent to the size of the state of Delaware over the last 50 years. The simple explanation for that is rising sea level. The correct explanation, however, has to do with a number of factors, the biggest of which are probably subsidence of the land (mostly due to natural forces) and the channelization of the Mississippi River, which prevents replenishing annual freshwater floods in the marsh.
But while the overall net loss is staggering, new land is being built in certain places as a result of sedimentation. New birdfoot deltas have sprung up at the mouth of the Atchafalaya River as a result of changing water control policies by the Corps of Engineers.
Deltas are in a constant state of flux. Land mass may be growing one place while eroding at another. One need not have rising sea levels to explain the disappearance of a lonely mud flat.
[Chesapeake] Bay, which was formed by the rising sea that flooded the ancient Susquehanna River valley, is constantly being reshaped by erosion. Since the Bay took on its modern form about 6,000 years ago, sea level in the Bay has risen about six inches per century. However, U.S. Geological Survey tide gauge records show that sea level in the Bay rose more rapidly during the 20th century. Currently, sea level at the mouth of the Bay is rising at a rate of about 1.3 feet per century—twice the worldwide average.
This relatively recent increase in sea level rise may have several causes. Land subsidence due to groundwater extraction is one common explanation. Another is human-induced global climate change, which is causing glaciers to melt and ocean volume to increase. Shoreline development that removes or blocks the migration of wetlands can also increase the effects of sea level rise. Without a wetland buffer between the land and the Bay, low-lying areas become more prone to flooding and erosion. [Emphasis mine. – ed.]
That’s very interesting, and in fact helps make my case. The temperature record from the Vostok ice core suggests relatively stable global temperatures, and therefore a relatively stable sea level for the last 10,000 years. (The last ice age, and its corresponding low stand sea level, ended about 12,000 years ago.) But this suggests that sea level in the Chesapeake region has risen by some 30 feet in 6,000 years! (Hint: it’s not that sea level has risen so much that the land has subsided.)
But I also found the other quote fascinating: “…[S]ea level at the mouth of the Bay is rising at a rate of about 1.3 feet per century—twice the worldwide average.” Isn’t one of the key features of a sea level is that it is, um, level?
Cross-posted at VladEnBlog.