Thursday, March 25, 2010

Global Warming Solves Three-Decade Old Argument

New Moore Island in the Sunderbans has been completely submerged. Photo courtesy: Das/AP

The argument had been raging for nearly 30 years with no end in sight; but, the argument is over now. Mother Nature has done for the combatants what they refused to do for themselves. For nearly three decades, India and Bangladesh have argued over ownership and control of a tiny rock island located in the Bay of Bengal.

Now, thanks to global warming and rising sea levels, the island has become submerged. There is nothing left to fight over. New Moore Island in the Sunderdans is no longer. Its disappearance has been confirmed by both satellite imagery and sea patrols. Sugata Hazra, a professor at Jadavpur University in Calcutta, says: "What these two countries could not achieve from years of talking, has been resolved by global warming.”

Scientists at the School of Oceanographic Studies at the university have noted an alarming increase in the rate at which sea levels have risen over the past decade in the Bay of Bengal.

Hazra goes on to point out that until 2000, the rise in sea levels remained reasonably constant at about 3 mm (0.12") a year; but, over the past decade they have risen approximately 5 mm (0.2") annually. This rise in the sea level has already caused another nearby island, Lohachara, to become submerged. Lohachara sunk in 1996 forcing its inhabitants to move to the mainland. Today almost half the land of Ghoramara island is underwater; while at least 10 other islands in the area are at risk as well.

"We will have ever larger numbers of people displaced from the Sunderbans as more island areas come under water," Hazra said.

Bangladesh is a low-lying delta nation of 150 million people and one of the countries most-affected by global warming. Already there is shifting of land masses in the deltas forcing the approximately 20 million people who live there to constantly be physically one step ahead of the erosion. If the sea levels continue to rise just 1 m (3.3') by 2050 as projected by some climate models, officials estimate 18% of Bangladesh's coastal area will be underwater and these 20 million people will be displaced.

India and Bangladesh both claimed the never-developed, totally uninhabited New Moore Island which is about 3.5 km (2 mi) long and 3 km (1.5 mi) wide. In a war where each country refused to back down, Bangladesh referred to New Moore island as South Talpatti and India sent paramilitary soldiers to its rocky shores in 1981 to plant its national flag.

The demarcation of the maritime boundary — and who controls the remaining islands — remains an open issue between the two South Asian neighbors.

Via Yahoo! News

No comments: