Rolling Stone Magazine published a lengthy write-up of the national security dangers of global warming in 2015, and claimed the strategically located Diego Garcia atoll was “sure to vanish” as sea levels rose.
A recent study, however, completely contradicts that claim and casts doubt on other predictions global warming-induced sea level rise will swallow up whole islands and force thousands to leave their homes.
“If rising oceans are indeed linked to global warming and are a force to be reckoned with, then the oft-described (by climate alarmists) unprecedented global warming and sea level rise of the past few decades should surely have made their mark on these low-lying land areas by now,” reads a blog post on science site CO2 Science.
“But is this really the case?” asks the blog run by the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, a group chaired by climate researcher Dr. Craig Idso.
CO2 Science cited a recent study spearheaded by scientists with the National Coral Reef Institute in Dania Beach, Fla. Their study found that while Diego Garcia’s physical coastline has changed over the past five decades, the island’s net area has not.
Researchers found, “the amount of erosion on Diego Garcia over the last 50 years is almost exactly balanced by the amount of accretion, suggesting the island to be in a state of equilibrium.”
“[T]he areas of shoreline erosion and extension bear little relationship to prevailing ocean climate, a finding which should guard against attempts to predict sites of future land loss through natural processes.”
In other words, the island hasn’t really shrunk, despite a reported sea level rise of five millimeters per year. The study comes more than a year after Rolling Stone said the Indian Ocean atoll was “sure to vanish.”
“The U.S. naval base on Diego Garcia, a small coral atoll in the Indian Ocean, like the nearby Maldives, is sure to vanish,” Rolling Stone reported in 2015 in a lengthy article on how global warming will overwhelm U.S. military bases.
Diego Garcia still has a military installation and played a key role during the Cold War in keeping a U.S. presence in the region. It also protected shipping lanes coming out of the Middle East.
Rolling Stone put Diego Garcia on a long list of military bases vulnerable to global warming. The magazine published the article just one month after President Barack Obama linked global warming to national security in his State of the Union address.
“The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security,” Obama said. “We should act like it.”
Obama has been sounding the alarm on global warming and national security for years. His Pentagon has called it a “threat multiplier,” warning that extreme weather could help topple unstable governments and spur refugee crises.
Indeed, scientists and environmentalists often point to island nations some of the world’s first “climate refugees.” Fiji, Kiribati and other islands are begging rich countries for aid and even a place to resettle should sea levels overwhelm them.
But Rolling Stone’s prediction Diego Garcia will “vanish” may be overblown, if recent research holds.
“It delivers is a damming indictment of alarmist projections of low-lying island demise in response to CO2-induced global warming,” CO2 science reported.
Studies are mixed on the fate of low-lying island nations.
A study by scientists from Australia and New Zealand found that despite the 33-island Funafuti Atoll seeing “some of the highest rates of sea-level rise… over the past 60 [years],” the island chain has actually grown in size.
“Despite the magnitude of this rise, no islands have been lost, the majority have enlarged, and there has been a 7.3% increase in net island area over the past century (A.D. 1897–2013),” reads the study on the South Pacific islands. “There is no evidence of heightened erosion over the past half-century as sea-level rise accelerated.”
The Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands saw accelerated sea level rise since 2000, sparking concerns the island would soon be swallowed up by the seas.
Sea level rise rapidly decelerated in recent years, and the atoll seemed to be going through an El Nino-sparked trend — as opposed to an accelerating trend from global warming.
“It’s obvious that the apparent acceleration in sea-level at Kwajalein was transient, and did not indicate the beginning of an accelerating trend in sea-level rise,” Anthony Watts, a veteran meteorologist, wrote in March.
“To me, it looks like sea-level at Kwajalein is inversely correlated with ENSO. When the current El Niño ends, so will the current dip in sea-level at Kwajalein, probably,” Watts wrote.
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