Climate change has a particular impact on the multiple islands around the globe.
This observation is substantiated by a new online data collection, established by geographers of Universität Hamburg’s Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN). Available immediately, the Integrated Island Database (IIDAB) combines geographic, economic and socio-scientific data—an unprecedented approach, enabling researchers to conduct comprehensive and comparative investigations of islands and their specific climate risks.
Threatened habitat: dwellers of small islands live in fear of the rising sea level.
Sandbags instead of sandy shores: protecting the caribbean coral atoll Anegada from erosion
The innovative resource originated at CliSAP, the Cluster of Excellence “Integrated Climate System Analysis and Prediction.” It is a component of the research focus on regional variations in sea level rise and its ramifications for coastal and island societies.
“On small islands, the repercussions of global warming are as evident as under a burning glass,” says database initiator Prof. Beate Ratter. “The effect on often economically vulnerable island societies is more immediate than on developed large-area countries, such as Germany, Canada or Russia.” Therefore, islands are a key area of interdisciplinary climate research. Despite its tremendous force, Hurricane Katrina, for instance, destroyed less than two percent of the United States’ gross national product in 2005. The island Grenada by contrast, lost two hundred percent of its GNP to Tropical Storm Ivan, a year prior to Katrina.
Another example: If the South West Pacific acidifies due to an overdose of released CO2, the coral reefs surrounding low-lying islands, such as Tuvalu or Kiribati, will die. At the same time, their protective function as natural breakwaters will be lost as well. Against the backdrop of more frequent extreme weather events, for example, heavy storms, storm tides or floods, this poses a great threat. A simultaneous sea level rise would turn the inhabitants of Tuvalu into climate refugees. Their island is situated less than two metres above sea level, on average.
The database provides easy access and caters precise information about islands. It is thus a useful tool for climate and island researchers working on case studies. “Its use of twenty combined search criteria produces plenty of information on natural and social sciences within seconds. Previously, scientists depended on time-consuming research methods,” explains Beate Ratter. The island database offers physio-geographical indices as to expanse, island type, distance to the mainland (Isolation Index), and highest elevation.
In addition, it encompasses societal information, for instance, details on population and residential density, political status, GNP, or economic factors, which are at least equally important. Also included are the crucial Sea Level Rise Index and the so-called Climate Risk Index, which specifies how natural disasters affect individual countries. It is established by the environmental organization Germanwatch under consideration of the factors death toll and insurance expenditures owing to extreme weather events. The remaining data was derived from international organizations, such as the United Nations (UN), the World Bank, the CIA, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and individual case studies.
Currently, about eighty islands and island nations are represented in the database, including all fifty-seven so-called Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Within the framework of the UN, this group of states continuously calls attention to its precarious situation. Mostly located in Oceania or in the Caribbean, these microstates are disadvantaged and sensitive in economic respect. According to the Integrated Island Database, the SIDS are home to around sixty-seven million inhabitants.
Universität Hamburg’s Cluster of Excellence "Integrated Climate System Analysis and Prediction" (CliSAP) and all partner institutions receive funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG). CliSAP is the seedbed of the Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN). The CEN comprises nine institutes and facilities at Universität Hamburg, merging expertise from natural and social sciences.
Integrated Island Database (IIDAB)
Cluster of Excellence “Integrated Climate System Analysis and Prediction” (CliSAP)
UN Conference on Small Island Developing States
Photos are available upon request in printer quality. Online display at: http://www.island-database.uni-hamburg.de/about.php
Please, send your request to: email@example.com
In case of inquiries, please contact:
Prof. Dr. Beate M. W. Ratter
Institut für Geographie
Centrum für Erdsystemforschung und Nachhaltigkeit der Universität Hamburg
Tel: +49 40 42838-5225
Birgit Kruse | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Only above-water microbes play a role in cave development
03.09.2015 | Penn State
NASA sees shapeless Tropical Depression 14E
03.09.2015 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE have developed a highly compact and efficient inverter for use in uninterruptible power...
China's Loess Plateau was formed by wind alternately depositing dust or removing dust over the last 2.6 million years, according to a new report from University of Arizona geoscientists. The study is the first to explain how the steep-fronted plateau formed.
China's Loess Plateau was formed by wind alternately depositing dust or removing dust over the last 2.6 million years, according to a new report from...
The leaves of the lotus flower, and other natural surfaces that repel water and dirt, have been the model for many types of engineered liquid-repelling surfaces. As slippery as these surfaces are, however, tiny water droplets still stick to them. Now, Penn State researchers have developed nano/micro-textured, highly slippery surfaces able to outperform these naturally inspired coatings, particularly when the water is a vapor or tiny droplets.
Enhancing the mobility of liquid droplets on rough surfaces could improve condensation heat transfer for power-plant heat exchangers, create more efficient...
Longer, more severe, and hotter droughts and a myriad of other threats, including diseases and more extensive and severe wildfires, are threatening to transform some of the world's temperate forests, a new study published in Science has found. Without informed management, some forests could convert to shrublands or grasslands within the coming decades.
"While we have been trying to manage for resilience of 20th century conditions, we realize now that we must prepare for transformations and attempt to ease...
A University of Oklahoma astrophysicist and his Chinese collaborator have found two supermassive black holes in Markarian 231, the nearest quasar to Earth, using observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.
The discovery of two supermassive black holes--one larger one and a second, smaller one--are evidence of a binary black hole and suggests that supermassive...
03.09.2015 | Event News
20.08.2015 | Event News
20.08.2015 | Event News
03.09.2015 | Process Engineering
03.09.2015 | Materials Sciences
03.09.2015 | Materials Sciences