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 Sea ice extent sinks to record lows at both poles
23.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Less radiation in inner Van Allen belt than previously believed
21.03.2017 | DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short

23.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics

23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Sea ice extent sinks to record lows at both poles

23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>