Climate change deniers are going to have a hard time explaining this one. Five small islands that are part of the Solomon Islands cluster in the Pacific have just been submerged by rising sea levels. According to the Guardian, the now-disappeared islands were between 2.5 and 12.4 acres in size and had no human habitation.
The full report, originally published in Environmental Research Letters and shared on IOPscience, emphasizes that the sinking islands represent the first concrete evidence of climate change's effects in the Pacific.
"Whilst shoreline recession has been documented on atolls over past decades, the majority of studies have not specifically demonstrated evidence linking shoreline recession to recent sea-level rise," wrote the researchers in the study's introduction, noting that — with regard to the Solomon Islands specifically — before there had only been "anecdotal accounts" from scientists and locals.
It's likely more islands will be subject to the same fate sooner rather than later. In recent studies, scientists have found that the global sea level will rise nearly twice what they originally predicted, increasing by over 6 feet by 2100, displacing some 13 million people in the U.S. alone.
And the researchers studying the five submerged Pacific islands are preparing for what's to come. "Understanding the extent and rate of recent shoreline changes on the islands of the western Pacific is an important step toward assisting these vulnerable communities to adapt to the unprecedented rate of sea-level rise and associated climate changes ... expected over the coming century," they wrote.