Bougainville‘s outer atolls are the most threatened. Amongst the worst affected island groups are Mortlock, Nuguria, Tasman, Nissan and Carteret. They are an 8 hour boat ride from Bukaisland in the north of Bougainville. It was widely reported in November 2005 that the islands have progressively become uninhabitable, with an estimate of their total submersion by 2015.
Rising seas due to global warming are engulfing small islands in the Pacific island nation of Micronesia. The country of some 100,000 people, formally known as the Federated States of Micronesia, consists of hundreds of islands three-quarters of the way between Hawaii and Indonesia.
Tuvalu‘s nine islands stand no more than four meters (13 feet) above sea level at their highest point. If predictions of rising sea levels caused by global warming are correct, they could become the world’s first casualties of climate change. Japanese photographer, Shuuichi Endou, who has set up an NGO Tuvalu Overview is taking a photo of each and every one of Tuvalu’s 10,000 inhabitants in his campaign to save the nation and send a message to the world to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
On Tegua, part of the island nation of Vanuatu, an entire village had to relocate due to rising water levels, and global media publicized photographs of a coconut plantation submerged in water, reclaimed by the sea. This group of islands is sinking into the ocean at a rate of about one centimeter per year.
The Maldives, consisting of over 1,100 islands to the west of India, is the world’s lowest-lying nation. On average the islands are only 1.3 meters above sea level. The 325,000 residents of the islands are threatened by rising sea levels. A documentary called The Island President tells the story of President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives as he confronts the rise of the sea level in his country. A rise of just three feet would submerge the Maldives and make them uninhabitable. In October 2009 the government of the Indian Ocean nation of the Maldives donned scuba gear to hold a cabinet meeting underwater in a dramatic stunt designed to draw attention to the Maldives’ inevitable demise if global warming continues.
The Solomon Islands are east of Papua New Guinea, and have a population of 584,578. A team of French researchers have been monitoring the island of Vanikoro, part of the 992 islands that make up the island chain, because they think it is slowly sinking. The team placed a survey marker a safe distance from the beach, and seven years later it was underwater.
Kiribati is about halfway between Hawaii and Australia and is made up of 32 low-lying atolls and one raised island. Most of its population has already moved to one island, Tarawam, after the rest of their land disappeared beneath the ocean.Villagers on Abaiang, one of the Kiribati Islands, had to relocate the entire village of Tebunginako because of rising seas and erosion.
Seychelles consists of 115 granite and coral islands in the western Indian Ocean, with a population of 87,122. According to the president of Nauru, the Seychelles has been ranked the ninth most endangered nation due to flooding from climate change.
Palau consists of eight principal islands and more than 250 smaller ones, about 500 miles southeast of the Philippines. Their population of 20,000 is being threatened by rising sea levels. William Brangham of PBS said “Palau’s coasts are being eroded, its local farmlands tainted by seawater, and its valuable reefs threatened.
A small island state in the Pacific, composed of 29 coral islands and atolls in the middle of Australia and Hawaii, the Marshall Islands are currently just 2 meters above sea level. Coastal erosion is evident everywhere and on Majuro atoll, the airport has flooded several times, despite an eight-foot-high seawall.