Cowlix Wearing my mind on my sleeve

Friday, March 08, 2002
Tuvalu followup

As zem points out in a comment to a post I made a couple of days ago, the verdict is still out on whether Tuvalu will actually turn into the next Atlantis. The article he referenced refers to data from the South Pacific Sea Level and Climate Monitoring Project, which has reports online back to 1995 on the sea level in the region.

In a related followup, back in November I referenced a Washington Times editorial, Spare the tears for Tuvalu, which quickly disappeared into their archive. I found a copy today, in a Yahoo Groups post.

However, sea level around Tuvalu has been falling precipitously for the last half-century. You could look it up in the Oct. 27 issue of Science, which was available for days before The Guardian went to press.

French scientists, led by Cecile Cabanes, used data collected by altimeters aboard the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite, and then compared them to a longer record of deep ocean temperatures that extends back to 1955. Sure enough, where the data overlapped (the satellite went up in 1993), there was very good agreement. The warmer (or colder) the ocean became, the more sea level rose (or fell).

Tuvalu is near the epicenter of a region where the sea level has been declining for nearly 50 years. In fact, the decline is so steep that even using the U.N.'s lurid (and wrong) median estimates of global warming for the next century will not get the Tuvalus back to their 1950 sea level until 2050.

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