The Captain's adventures are not limited to Japan. Wherever there's news - and booze - there will be the Captain.
This week he journeys to the tiny Pacific island nation of Tuvalu - said by scientists to be a prime candidate for obliteration due to sea-level rise . Over lunch, he discusses this doomsday scenario with some of the locals and uncovers a few of the subtleties of life on an island that on average is not much wider than an airport runway. Roll up your pant legs and join him before it is too late.
A new report from Australia's National Tidal Facility disputes the notion that Tuvalu is sinking. The report is based in part on the same data referenced by an article zem posted here. [via The Daily Grail]
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.
Tuvalu, the tiny island nation that is slowly disappearing into the sea, is planning to sue several countries for the pollution it claims caused the global warming which in turn caused the sea level to rise.
The nation of 26 square kilometers, most of it only a few meters above sea level, has set the ultimate challenge of wresting control of the global warming agenda before it sinks forever beneath the waves. When that will happen is anyone's guess. But Prime Minister Koloa Talake says the only thing rising faster than the tide around his country's nine atolls is the cost of moving the 11,000 inhabitants elsewhere.
Talake blames the United States and other leading economies for their half-hearted commitment to emissions reductions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its protocols. Washington, the only country to repudiate its signature on the critical Kyoto Protocol, will presumably be the first target of the US law firm that has been engaged to pursue this intriguing legal action. After that it gets a little tricky.