“Dying Paradise”, or How Oceania goes under water

The Solomon Islands are an archipelago of small patches of land in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. With a population of just over half a million and a corresponding area, they rarely deserve attention in the news feed. Exactly one year ago, the country lost five islands.

Islands vs Sea Level 

Oceania is a tourist “paradise” on Earth. This region could become a global resort, but apparently it is no longer destiny. This part of the world is a scattering of tiny islands that adorn the vast Pacific Ocean.

There are three types of islands:

1. mainland (former parts of the mainland that separated from the continent due to tectonic movements or flooding of individual land areas),

2. volcanic (these are the peaks of volcanoes protruding above the water),

3. coral.

That’s it coral atolls are at risk.

According to international observers, since 1993 the water level in the World Ocean has been rising by 3,2 mm every year. This is an average. By 2100, the level is expected to rise by 0,5-2,0 m. The indicator is small, if you do not know that the average height of the islands of Oceania is 1-3 meters …

Despite the adoption in 2015 of an international agreement, according to which states will strive to keep the temperature rise at the level of 1,5-2,0 degrees, this is extremely ineffective. 

The first “victims”

With the advent of the new millennium, those predictions that were written in textbooks on geography began to come true. There are a lot of examples – let’s look at three countries a little closer. 

Papua New Guinea

It was here that in 2006 they implemented something that could save the inhabitants of Oceania. In some scenario, many millions of people will have to go through this.

Kilinaailau Atoll had an area of ​​about 2 km2. The highest point of the island is 1,5 meters above sea level. According to calculations, the island should disappear under water in 2015, which happened. The country’s government resolved the issue in time, without waiting for the conference. Since 2006, residents have been relocated to the neighboring island of Bougainville. 2600 people received a new home. 


The only state that is located in all hemispheres. The government of the country turned to neighboring Fiji with an offer to buy several islands for the resettlement of residents. Already about 40 islands have completely disappeared under water – and the process continues. Almost the entire population of the country (about 120 thousand people) today moved to the capital island of Tarawa. This is the last major piece of land on which the Kiribati huddle. And the sea comes…

Fiji is not ready to sell their land, which is understandable – the ocean threatens them too. The authorities of Kiribati planned to build artificial islands, but there was no money for this. And somewhere they build artificial islands for beauty and tourism, but not for salvation. 


An outsider in terms of area among the countries of the world, ahead only of Nauru, Monaco and the Vatican. The archipelago is located on a dozen small atolls, which are gradually eroded and go under the turquoise waves of the Pacific Ocean.

The country by 2050 may become the world’s first underwater state. Of course, there will be a piece of rock for the government building – and that’s enough. Today the country is trying to find where to “move”.

Scientists believe that the rise in sea level here is temporary and is related to geology. However, you should think about what to do in the event of continued flooding. 

In the new century, a new type of refugee has appeared – “climatic”. 

Why the “Ocean rises” 

Global warming spares no one. But if you approach the issue of sea level rise not from the point of view of the “yellow press” and the same TV shows, but turn to half-forgotten science.

The relief of the European part of Russia was formed during the glaciation period. And no matter how hard you try, but to tie the retreat of the glacier to the detrimental effect on the ozone layer of the Neanderthals will not work.

Milankovitch cycles are fluctuations in the amount of sunlight and radiation reaching the planet over long periods of time. This definition serves as a key parameter in paleoclimatology. The position of the Earth in space is not constant and there are several cycles of displacement of the main points, which affect the received radiation from the Sun. In the Universe, everything is super-precise, and a deviation of a hundredth of a degree can lead to the transformation of the planet into a giant “snowball”.

The smallest cycle is 10 years and is associated with a shift in perihelion.

Without going into details, today we live in the peak of the interglacial era. According to scientists’ forecasts, a drop in temperature should begin in the near future, which will lead to an ice age after 50 years.

And here it is worth remembering the greenhouse effect. Milutin Milankovich himself said that “the defining moment for glaciation is not a frosty winter, but a cool summer.” From this it follows that if the accumulation of CO2 holds back heat near the surface of the Earth, it is precisely because of this that temperature indicators increase and the decline moves away.

Without begging for the “merits” of mankind in the formation of warming, you should not go in cycles in self-flagellation. It is better to look for ways out of the problem – after all, we are “people of the XNUMXst century”. 

Prospects for the “new Atlantis” 

There are about 30 independent states and dependent territories in Oceania. Each of them is inferior to the suburbs of Moscow in terms of population and rarely overcomes the threshold of 100 thousand inhabitants. The area of ​​the islands throughout Oceania is approximately equal to the area of ​​the Moscow region. There is no oil here. There is no developed industry here. In fact, the South Pacific is a completely original part of the planet that cannot keep up with the rest of the world and is trying to build its own world. The natives live according to the traditions of their ancestors and lead a measured life of fishermen. Only tourism keeps in touch with the rest of the planet.

There is always a shortage of fresh water – where does it come from on the atoll?

There is so little land that there are no cemeteries – a great luxury to give 2 m2 under the grave. Every meter that is flooded by the ocean has a significant impact on the inhabitants of the island.

Numerous agreements that are concluded at endless summits have very little practical value. And the problem is getting worse every day. The prospects are as follows – in a couple of centuries there will be no Oceania. Like this.

If we get away from populism and pompous speeches, then we can develop programs for the resettlement of residents of such republics as Tuvalu, but neighboring islands. Indonesia and Papua New Guinea have long declared their readiness to provide uninhabited volcanic islands for settlement to those in need. And they do it successfully!

The concept is simple:

1. Some countries in the region have sparsely populated and uninhabited islands that are not at risk of flooding.

2. Neighboring states “go” under water.

3. The territory is allocated – and people get a new home.

Here is a really practical solution to the problem! We call these countries the “Third World”, and they are much more efficient in their approach to issues.

If the largest states help develop programs for the planned settlement of the islands, then the greatest rescue in the history of the world can be carried out – to resettle sinking countries to new lands. A grandiose project, but will it be implemented. 

Global warming and sea level rise is a serious environmental problem. The topic is actively “heated up” by the media, which negatively affects the situation as a whole. It must be remembered that this is a scientific question and it should be approached in the same way – scientifically and in a balanced way. 


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