The Independent has taken a bold stance. The Independent's "Environment Editor Geoffrey Lean" reports:
Rising seas, caused by global warming, have for the first time washed an inhabited island off the face of the Earth. The obliteration of Lohachara island, in India's part of the Sundarbans where the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers empty into the Bay of Bengal, marks the moment when one of the most apocalyptic predictions of environmentalists and climate scientists has started coming true.
The article doesn't mention things that one might want to know about this startling event; such as, how much has the sea risen over the past several years that might account for such a thing? Or how long has Lohachara Island been in existence?
I asked myself that last question because the island, as indicated in the article, is located in the delta of the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers, the largest river delta in the world (check for yourself here and here – that's the source for the picture at top). It seemed to me that there could possibly be another explanation than "rising seas" to explain the disappearance of Lohachara Island.
I first tried to find out more about this event by looking for Lohachara Island on the GoreNet. I went to Yahoo! to use Yahoo! Maps and I was distracted by this and it kinda turned my stomach for a while, but I soldiered on (don't say I didn't warn you!).
Anyway, I searched for Lochachara Island and found this:
By 2020, 12 more Sunderban islands will be under water –
The Indian Express : Sagar Island (Sunderbans), October 29
An annual 3.14 mm rise in sea level at Sunderbans due to climate change is eating away 12 islands on the delta, says a study by a group of scientists from Jadavpur University.
The review says around 70,000 residents of Sunderban delta may turn into "environmental refugees" in the next 14 years unless the government initiates counter measures right away.
The findings, carried out by a team of scientists from Jadavpur University's School of Oceanographic Studies, are part of a vulnerability assessment project.
The effect is expected to be catastrophic for the residents of the ecologically sensitive islands - a major exodus, as the rising water level would submerge large chunks of land by 2020.
In fact, the intruding salty water has already had its effects on the region's flora and fauna: Lohachara and Bedford islands, with an area of more than six square kilometres between them, "vanished from the map" two decades ago.
Result: it left thousands of residents as "environmental refugees".
Prof Sugata Hazra, director, School of Oceanographic Studies, said: "A preliminary survey reveals that around 7,000 people have been displaced from their original habitat in Sunderbans over the last 30 years. They have turned into environmental refugees due to the sea-level rise, coastal erosion, cyclone and coastal flooding."
The migrants, now living in various refugee colonies, are just an indication of what is in store for the world-renowned mangrove islands, the scientists warned. The islands are also a habitat for the endangered Royal Bengal Tiger.
That last point is quite significant. Nothing like concern for animals to get people to push urgent political agendae.
But wait a minute. Is it sea level rise or is it something else or is somebody confused? The article I just quoted at length says that Lohachara Island "vanished from the map" two decades ago. If that's the case, then the article in The Independent is really old news. I mean, that was long before certain environmental groups got their g-strings in a gordian over sea level rise, much less global warming.
Also, the phrase "coastal erosion" gives a better indication of what went on either two decades ago or who-knows-when. These islands are part of a delta. A delta "creates" land by depositing silt from up-river at its mouth. Very rich, fertile land. Isn't it just possible that the disappearance of Lohachara Island was due to erosion from the currents within the delta?
Another similar article said that Lohachara Island disappeared within the last "three decades". Both of them point out that measurements of sea level rise have shown a rise of over three millimeters a year. Doing the math, that means that in, say, 30 years, the sea level "rise" will amount to 94.2 to 105 mm. That's 3.71 to 4.13 inches. One has to wonder how the scientists made such a measurement of 3.14 mm, too. Measuring sea levels to a hundredth of an inch?
Finally, what clinches the bogusness of this whole thing is that a rise of that tiny magnitude would submerge a whole island. One has to wonder how high above sea level Lohachara Island was. I mean, what about tides? If an entire island disappears because of a 3-inch rise in sea level, what happened when the tide came in?
Nope, I don't believe it.