Special Report

20 Islands That Will Disappear in Your Lifetime

Source: Norimoto / Getty Images

6. Palau
> Population: 18,008

The sea level has risen in Palau, a country of about 700 islands, by about 0.35 inches, or 9 mm, per year since 1993, about three times the global average rise, according to research by the Pacific-Australia Climate Change Science Program.

The accelerated rate may be due to natural weather phenomena that occur periodically such as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation. Sea level is expected to rise between 5.5 and 13.8 inches by 2050, largely depending on the amount of global greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere.

Source: tobiasjo / Getty Images

7. Fiji
> Population: 889,953

Fiji, a popular honeymoon destination consisting of more than 300 islands in the South Pacific, is at the mercy of climate change. Powerful tropical cyclones, erosion, and flooding are part of the reason the annual sea level in Fiji has been rising by an average of about a quarter of an inch per year since 1993. In 2012, the entire population of one village abandoned its homes and relocated to higher ground.

Source: pom-angers / Flickr

8. Seychelles
> Population: 97,625

The 115-island archipelago in the Indian Ocean is primarily a tourist destination — but its beaches are eroding. Theoretically, a 1 meter (39 inches) of sea-level rise would inundate 70% of the nation’s landmass.

Source: HenrikAMeyer / Getty Images

9. Solomon Islands
> Population: 669,823

The Solomon Islands, a nation made up of six major islands in the South Pacific, has already lost five reef islands because of sea level rise and erosion caused by climate change, according to a 2016 study published in Environmental Research Letters.

The sea level has been rising in the Solomon Islands archipelago by just under a half an inch (10.1 mm) per year, more than three times the global average of sea level rise. Villages have been forced to relocate because much of their land is now under water.

Source: PeterTHarris / Wikimedia Commons

10. Torres Strait Islands, Australia
> 2016 Population: 4,514

Sea levels around the Torres Strait Islands are rising at an average rate of 6 mm to 8 mm per year, almost triple the global average sea-level rise.

The ocean water has become warmer and more acidic due to increasing levels of carbon dioxide The increased acidity has also sped up erosion as the acid in the water reacts with minerals in the soil. Local governments have organized climate change workshops to develop and adapt plans to deal with the threat of rising sea levels.

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