11 Sep 2017 - The low-lying Micronesia and the Solomon islands have fallen victim to climate change as sea levels continue to climb at an average of three millimetres every year.
Due to a natural trade wind cycle, sea levels rise faster in the western Pacific meaning – as much as 12 millimetres since the 1990s.
Patrick Nunn, of the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia, has found that islands are continuing to disappear.
After conducting surveys on the coast, questioned locals and studied satellite imagery, Nunn’s team found that several low-lying islands have been considerably swallowed or even disappeared entirely.
Locals told researchers that two islands, Kepidau en Pehleng and Nahlapenlohd are now completely submerged.
And aerial images of the area show that another six islands, Laiap, Nahtik and the Ros island chains disappeared between 2007 and 2014.
Nunn warns that the islands, which were around 100 square metres in size, could hold a stark warning for other low-lying islands and nations.
The research was published in the 2017 edition of the Journal of Coastal Conservation.
Another study conducted by Simon Albert, of the University of Queensland in Australia, in 2016 had similar findings.
Albert and his team discovered that five of the Solomon Islands had been lost since the mid-20th century.
Following the research, he said: ‘These are the first places on Earth to experience really high rates of sea level rise, so they give great insights into what can happen.’