Environmental officials warned 30 years ago the Maldives could be completely covered by water due to global warming-induced sea level rise.
That didn’t happen. The Indian Ocean did not swallow the Maldives island chain as predicted by government officials in the 1980s.
In September 1988, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported a “gradual rise in average sea level is threatening to completely cover this Indian Ocean nation of 1196 small islands within the next 30 years,” based on predictions made by government officials.
Then-Environmental Affairs Director Hussein Shihab told AFP “an estimated rise of 20 to 30 centimetres in the next 20 to 40 years could be ‘catastrophic’ for most of the islands, which were no more than a metre above sea level.”
The article went on to suggest the Maldives, along with its 200,000 inhabitants, could “end” sooner than expected if drinking water supplies dry up by 1992 “as predicted.” Today, more than 417,000 people live in the Maldives.
“Call Noah and have him build another Ark,” Daniel Turner, executive director of the pro-energy group Power the Future, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Bring out the Coast Guard. Send all the boogie boards and floaties you can find for the Maldives is going down,” Turner said sarcastically.
The Maldives are among the island nations often held up by United Nations officials as being on the “front-lines” of man-made global warming. The island nation was among the first to apply for Green Climate Fund aid, but the funding hasn’t been flowing, according to The New York Times.
“That’s too long to wait,” Maldives energy and environment minister Thoriq Ibrahim told The Times last year. “There’s no use having a fund somewhere if you can’t access it quickly.”
The Maldives are indeed low-lying islands with its highest point only reaching about eight feet above sea level. But obviously, decades-old warnings the Maldives were on the verge of being swallowed by the seas didn’t pan out.
A recent study projected low-lying reef islands, like the Maldives, could become “uninhabitable” by the middle of the 21st Century because too much sea water will get into freshwater drinking supplies.
The study projects “sea-level rise and wave dynamics over reefs will lead to the annual wave-driven overwash of most atoll islands by the mid-21st century.”
However, other research suggest the Maldives and other coral islands may actually be expanding, not sinking into the sea.
New Zealand researchers published a study earlier this year based on aerial photos and satellite images of Pacific islands over the last four decades that found most atolls they examined were increasing in size.