According to Michael Mann, a climate scientist, low-lying island countries could be threatened by increased sea levels sooner than once thought. Mann told the Guardian that “Island nations that have considered the possibility of evacuation at some point, like Tuvalu, may have to be contending those sort of decisions within the matter of a decade or so.”
Mann works as the director for the Pennsylvania State University Earth System Science Center. He said that sea ice is “declining faster than the models predict. The models have typically predicted that will not happen for decades but the measurements that are coming in tell us it is already happening so once again we are decades ahead of schedule.”
The melting that took place this year was a record and it occurred in normal conditions compared to the record set in 2007. When talking with the Guardian, Mann said “we [will] really start to see sea level rises accelerate.”
The island countries facing the biggest threat include the Maldives, Kiribati and the Torres Strait Islands. These islands will face saltwater contamination, coastal erosion and dwindling freshwater supply. Oceana also said that these countries could face food security threats because of higher temperatures and higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the ocean.
“There’s a huge gap between what is understood by the scientific community and what is known by the public,” NASA scientist James Hansen said.