"...as we rounded a bend, the dwellings of a Baanaban village overarched by palms came in sight on the seaward slope below us. We caught glimpses, through twined shadow and sunlight, of crimson and cream hibiscus, of thatches raised on corner posts, of neatly matted floors beneath them, of bronzed bodies in brightly coloured loin-cloths. We heard the chatter of laughing women and the shouts of children across a murmur of surf that rose muted through the trees. Scents of gardenia and frangipani floated up to us mixed with savours of cooking."
The young newly-wedded arrival was Arthur Grimble who recorded life in the former Gilbert and Ellis Island Protectorate in "A Pattern of Islands." This island Paradise has had a tumultuous history. Ocean Island or Banaba is 300km east of Nauru and like Nauru was guano covered. Mining from 1900 to 1979 stripped away 90% of the Island's surface.
The Japanese occupied the island from 1942 to 1945, destroying most of the villages and then the British protectorate relocated most of the population to Rabi (pronounced Rambi) a Fijian Island off Vanua Levu.
The majority of Banabans still live on Rabi.
The Banaban Voice reports the many islands are not drowning but growing:
For years, people have warned that the smallest nations on the planet - island states that barely rise out of the ocean - face being wiped off the map by rising sea levels. Now the first analysis of the data broadly suggests the opposite: most have remained stable over the last 60 years, while some have even grown.
Paul Kench at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and Arthur Webb at the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission in Fiji used historical aerial photos and high-resolution satellite images to study changes in the land surface of 27 Pacific islands over the last 60 years. During that time, local sea levels have risen by 120 millimetres, or 2 millimetres per year on average.
Despite this, Kench and Webb found that just four islands have diminished in size since the 1950s. The area of the remaining 23 has either stayed the same or grown (Global and Planetary Change, DOI: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2007.11.001).
At its highest point, Tuvalu stands just 4.5 metres out of the Pacific. It is widely predicted to be one of the first islands to drown in the rising seas caused by global warming. Yet Arthur Webb and Paul Kench found that seven islands in one of its nine atolls have spread by more than 3 per cent on average since the 1950s. One island, Funamanu, gained 0.44 hectares, or nearly 30 per cent of its previous area.
Similar trends were observed in the neighbouring Republic of Kiribati. The three major urbanised islands in the republic - Betio, Bairiki and Nanikai - increased by 30 per cent (36 hectares), 16.3 per cent (5.8 hectares) and 12.5 per cent (0.8 hectares), respectively.
The article quotes the University of Adelaide's Warmist Barry Brook who said at first he was surprised by the report, but added that the sea level rise is accelerating.
Perhaps Barry had been listening to the The University of Colorado’s Sea Level Research Group