Dec 2, 2015

The Marshall Islands Are Disappearing

Ebeye, Kwajalein Atoll
RMI
by
Coral Davenport
,
New York Times
Tony A. deBrum, the foreign minister of the Marshall Islands. Photo: New York Times
Tony A. deBrum, the foreign minister of the Marshall Islands. Photo: New York Times

Most of the 1,000 or so Marshall Islands, spread out over 29 narrow coral atolls in the South Pacific, are less than six feet above sea level — and few are more than a mile wide. For the Marshallese, the destructive power of the rising seas is already an inescapable part of daily life. Changing global trade winds have raised sea levels in the South Pacific about a foot over the past 30 years, faster than elsewhere. Scientists are studying whether those changing trade winds have anything to do with climate change. But add to this problem a future sea-level rise wrought by climate change, and islanders who today experience deluges of tidal flooding once every month or two could see their homes unfit for human habitation within the coming decades