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The site of the hillfort of Vugala, northern Viti Levu island (Fiji). This was one of many hillforts in the area – home to a few hundred people according to reports from the 1840s – that were probably established around AD 1400 in response to conflict resulting from a food crisis that had come about as a result of an enduring fall in sea level. Patrick Nunn

Rise and fall: social collapse linked to sea level in the Pacific

Rising seas are one of the major concerns of Pacific Island nations, and looking at past sea-level change can help understand the future.
A portion of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, called Wilkes Land, flowing into the ocean. Michael Hambrey/Glaciers online net

How ice sheets collapse: a lesson from the past

The way ice sheets respond to global warming may be more predictable than previously thought
In the aftermath of 2012’s deadly Hurricane Sandy, New York launched a US$20 billion plan to defend the city against future storms as well as rising sea levels. David Shankbone/Flickr

Sea level rise is real – which is why we need to retreat from unrealistic advice

Managing the impacts of rising seas for some communities is being made more difficult by the actions of governments, homeowners – and even some well-intentioned climate adaptation experts.
A king tide in New Zealand, part of a project documenting what future sea level rise might look like. Witness King Tides/Flickr

15 years from now, our impact on regional sea level will be clear

Human activity is driving sea levels higher. Australia’s seas are likely to rise by around 70 centimetres by 2100 if nothing is done to combat climate change. But 2100 can seem a long way off. At the moment…
Tasman Lake, which is fed by melt water from the retreating Tasman Glacier, photographed in March this year. Trevor Chinn

New Zealand’s Southern Alps have lost a third of their ice

A third of the permanent snow and ice of New Zealand’s Southern Alps has now disappeared, according to our new research based on National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research aerial surveys. Since…
The tiny Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands could avoid being swamped entirely, although it will still suffer profoundly from sea-level rise. Christopher Johnson/Wikimedia Commons

Dynamic atolls give hope that Pacific Islands can defy sea rise

It is widely predicted that low-lying coral reef islands will drown as a result of sea-level rise, leaving their populations as environmental refugees. But new evidence now suggests that these small islands…
Eroded beaches in Surfers Paradise on Queensland’s Gold Coast, May 2013. John Reid, Environment Studio, ANU School of Art

Scrapping sea level protection puts Australian homes at risk

As the science on the coastal impacts of climate change gets stronger, the protections for Australia’s coastal communities are getting weaker. If that continues, everyone will pay. Along the eastern seaboard…

Island biodiversity at risk from rising sea levels

Rising sea levels caused by global warming are putting island habitats that hold 20% of the world’s biodiversity at risk…

Sea level affected tropics in ice age

University of Hawaii at Manoa researchers have investigated preserved geological rainfall pattern clues, or “proxies”, during…

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