Global Warming Resolves Island Dispute with Wisdom of Solomons
Greatest Story Summary Evah: “Rising sea levels have submerged an island claimed by both India and Bangladesh. Global warming appears to have buried the dispute.”
What the Indians call New Moore island and the Bangladeshis call South Talpatti lies in the Bay of Bengal, a region with large potential reserves of gas and oil. Satellite imagery shows the island now submerged, says Sugata Hazra, director of the School of Oceanographic Studies at Jadavpur University in Calcutta.
“We can see the island still at lowest-tide level, and it has dispersed within the sea,” says Professor Hazra. “It is below the high-tide level.”
He blames the loss of the uninhabited island — and several others in recent years — to rising sea levels and surface temperatures in the northern Bay of Bengal. “Climate change is one of the major impacting factors,” he says, adding that “it may not be solely responsible.”
The islands in the area are the unstable creations of the Bhramaputra river delta. New Moore first emerged on satellite images in 1974, and in 1981 India sent naval ships to plant a flag. The island has become central to a broader maritime dispute intensifying as a United Nations deadline of 2011 looms for resolving the issue.
Given that the island has been above water for only 36 years and is home to no one, this is more amusing than anything else.