Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Future sea level rises should not restrict new island formation in the Maldives

27.09.2013
The continued accumulation of sand within the iconic ring-shaped reefs inside Maldivian atolls could provide a foundation for future island development new research suggests.

Islands like the Maldives are considered likely to be the first to feel the effects of climate change induced sea level rise, with future island growth essential to counter the threat of rising sea levels.


This is one of the study sites Dhakandhoo, in the Maldives. Credit: University of Exeter

The study published in the journal Geology, and carried out by researchers from the University of Exeter in collaboration with the University of Auckland, James Cook University, the National Institute for Environmental Studies in Japan, Curtin University and the University of Glasgow, focussed on the formation of islands inside the atolls of the Maldives.

The researchers studied the history and timing of island building, a process which starts when the lagoons fill sufficiently with sand that is derived from the surrounding corals reefs, to provide a foundation for island establishment. Assuming these reefs continue to flourish and can thus maintain high rates of sand supply, those lagoons that are already nearly full have clear potential to provide foundations for new island development over the next few hundred years.

Professor Chris Perry from the University of Exeter said: "Many of the heavily populated islands in the Maldives have limited capacity to respond naturally to sea-level rise and this will necessitate additional spending on shoreline maintenance. Our research suggests, however, that the potential does exist for new island formation on those reefs inside the atolls that have near fully infilled lagoons. These may ultimately provide additional land options across the region, and some possibilities for mitigation options under higher sea level conditions."

The study suggests that it is the smaller reefs, with lagoons that are already nearly in-filled, that are most likely to give rise to new islands. Once established, and given sufficient sand supply, the findings suggest that these new islands can develop rapidly, over a few 100 years, and that these may then evolve into larger, island structures that could provide alternative land options in the region. Evidence from this region also suggests that many existing islands established and expanded under slightly higher than present sea-levels over the last few 1000 years.

Larger reefs with deeper, unfilled, central lagoons are likely to only fill with sand over much longer timescales and are thus unlikely to support new island development over any meaningful future timescales.

Sea level rise is projected to put increasing pressure on the Maldives. Heavily populated islands, including the low-lying capital Male, have limited capacity to respond to natural shoreline changes and will thus require ever more costly management interventions to sustain them under projected sea level rises.

This project received funding from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the International Association of Geomorphologists REEForm Working Group.

About the University of Exeter

The Sunday Times University of the Year 2012-13, the University of Exeter is a Russell Group university and in the top one percent of institutions globally. It combines world-class research with very high levels of student satisfaction. Exeter has over 18,000 students and is ranked 8th in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide league table, 10th in The Complete University Guide and 12th in the Guardian University Guide 2014. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 90% of the University's research was rated as being at internationally recognised levels and 16 of its 31 subjects are ranked in the top 10, with 27 subjects ranked in the top 20.

The University has invested strategically to deliver more than £350 million worth of new facilities across its campuses in the last few years; including landmark new student services centres - the Forum in Exeter and The Exchange on the Penryn Campus in Cornwall, together with world-class new facilities for Biosciences, the Business School and the Environment and Sustainability Institute. There are plans for another £330 million of investment between now and 2016.

For further information and images contact:

Dr Jo Bowler
University of Exeter Press Office
Office: +44 (0)1392 722062
Mobile: +44(0)7827 309 332
Twitter: @UoE_ScienceNews
j.bowler@exeter.ac.uk

Jo Bowler | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.exeter.ac.uk

Further reports about: Maldives land development rising sea level sea level sea level rise

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland
19.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

nachricht Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis

23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Electrocatalysis can advance green transition

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>