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
Tracking the amount of sea ice from the Greenland ice sheet
28.09.2016 | Ca' Foscari University of Venice
A perfect sun-storm
28.09.2016 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam - Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ
Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of light metals.
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart have now developed two new process variants that will considerably expand the areas of application for friction stir welding.
Technologie-Lizenz-Büro (TLB) GmbH supports the University of Stuttgart in patenting and marketing its innovations.
Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of...
Optical quantum computers can revolutionize computer technology. A team of researchers led by scientists from Münster University and KIT now succeeded in putting a quantum optical experimental set-up onto a chip. In doing so, they have met one of the requirements for making it possible to use photonic circuits for optical quantum computers.
Optical quantum computers are what people are pinning their hopes on for tomorrow’s computer technology – whether for tap-proof data encryption, ultrafast...
The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.
“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...
With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.
Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...
For the first time, Fraunhofer IKTS shows additively manufactured hardmetal tools at WorldPM 2016 in Hamburg. Mechanical, chemical as well as a high heat resistance and extreme hardness are required from tools that are used in mechanical and automotive engineering or in plastics and building materials industry. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden managed the production of complex hardmetal tools via 3D printing in a quality that are in no way inferior to conventionally produced high-performance tools.
Fraunhofer IKTS counts decades of proven expertise in the development of hardmetals. To date, reliable cutting, drilling, pressing and stamping tools made of...
28.09.2016 | Event News
27.09.2016 | Event News
23.09.2016 | Event News
28.09.2016 | Medical Engineering
28.09.2016 | Materials Sciences
28.09.2016 | Business and Finance