Climate Change
The remains of one of six partially eroded islands in the nation of Solomon Islands, is shown in this photo taken in October 2013 and provided by Simon Albert. Reuters/Simon Albert

Manmade climate change has claimed five Pacific islands in the Solomon Islands. Six more have experienced dramatic reduction in coastlines. Large swathes of land and villages have been washed into the sea and have gone underwater. Just like Australia’s Great Barrier Reef’s coral bleaching, manmade climate change needs to be curbed at all costs immediately.

In a paper published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, Australian scientists have confirmed that the submerged islands were a part of Solomon Islands, a picturesque collection of small islands located in the Pacific Ocean. Solomon Islands has a population of around 500,000 people. Many of the inhabitants there have been severely affected by rising sea levels in recent years. In the last two decades, Solomon Islands has seen a rise in annual sea level by 10mm per year.

Fortunately, the islands that have been washed into the sea were not inhabited by humans. The missing islands had sizes ranging from 1-5 hectares. However, two of the six other islands, where large portions of land are now under seawater, have entire villages destroyed. People have been forced to relocate, the Australian scientists confirmed.

In March, NASA scientist James Hansen, who is well-known for his studies on climate change, estimated that in the coming century, sea levels may rise by seven metres. This may destroy coastal communities. The new research bears consequences that may reverberate far beyond the turquoise shores of Oceania.

Since 2011, residents of Nuatambu Island (home to 25 families) are living in fear after climate change washed away 11 of their houses and 50 percent of the island’s inhabitable area.

This study by Australian scientists may be the first scientific evidence of the impact of climate change on Pacific coastlines. The researchers arrived at their findings after they conducted radiocarbon dating of tress in the area and studied satellite and aerial images of 33 islands dating back to 1947. They also used traditional knowledge to come up with the findings.

RELATED: Australia’s Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching ‘by far the biggest signal’ of climate change and ‘strongly linked to global warming’

In Australia, manmade climate change has claimed 50 percent of the corals in far north of the Great Barrier Reef due to coral bleaching.

“There's about 900 reefs in that section and essentially all of those were severely bleached, above 50 percent. Some as high as 90, close to 100 percent bleached,” Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Dr. Russell Reichelt, told Senate estimates on Thursday.