Islands saved from mythical threat

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Last updated on March 6th, 2018 at 12:29 am

Reuters environment correspondent Alister Doyle reports:

A creeping rise in sea levels tied to global warming, pollution and damage to coral reefs may make coastlines even more vulnerable to disasters like tsunamis or storms in future, experts said Monday.

Cheer up, experts! The quake that caused these tsunamis may actually combat increased sea levels:

Stuart Sipkin, of the USGS National Earthquake Information Centre in Golden Colorado, said it was more likely that the islands off Sumatra had risen higher out of the sea than they had moved laterally.

“In this case, the Indian plate dived below the Burma plate, causing uplift, so most of the motion to the islands would have been vertical, not horizontal.”

So now they’re safe from global warming. Which must be a great comfort.

UPDATE. Jeff McNeely, chief scientist of the Swiss-based World Conservation Union, blames shrimp eating and other destructive ‘human activities” for the tsunami toll:

“What has made this a disaster is that people have started to occupy part of the landscape that they shouldn’t have occupied,” he told AFP in a telephone interview from Paris.

“What has also happened over the last several decades is that many mangroves have been cleared to grow shrimp ponds so that we, here in Europe, can have cheap shrimp,” he added.

The shrimps and prawns are sold to Europeans and other foreigners “at a price that does not include the environmental cost which is being paid today,” McNeely said.

Thousands of dead people is not an “environmental cost”, Mr Science Guy. In fact, the environment came out of this relatively unscathed, as McNeely admits:

On the other hand, Sunday’s quake would not have been a disaster for local wildlife still left in the affected areas, he added.

“Those living along the coast are seldom particularly rare, that’s not a rare habitat, the mangroves are not particularly rich in species, the species that live there are used to typhoons, to storms and all that.

“Animals are smart enough to move.”

McNeely isn’t smart enough to shut up. Via Donnah.

UPDATE II. Iowahawk has breaking scientific news:

Washington, DC – Pointing to the devastating weekend Indian Ocean tsunami that left over 24,000 dead, a international blue ribbon committee of climatologists and ecoscientists today issued a stark warning that man-made pollutants have increasingly “make water spirits angry.”

The blunt conclusion prefaced a 2300 page meta-analysis of hundreds of scientific studies and computer models detailing links between human industrial activity and wrathful eco-deities. Entitled “Fire Bad: Fire Very Bad,” the report warns that the planet faces additional catastrophies unless drastic regulatory action is taken to appease Earthen-furies.

“Unclean money devils anger sacred water spirit Tai-Waku,” explained Martin Knudson of Scripps Oceanic Institute. “He now call angry to son the whale, ‘make slap with anger-tails! Bring vengeance-surf to villagers!’”

Posted by Tim B. on 12/28/2004 at 05:00 PM
    1. Its all Howard’s fault.

      Posted by Nic on 12/28 at 05:06 PM • #


    1. Jeepers,

      that did not take them long to link it to global warming.

      But we have an idiot in reuters, because of the sea level rises, which means deeper water, then the tsunami becomes less destructive, sort of.

      Tsunamis are destructive in shallow water, so any deepening of water wll decrease their destructiveness.

      Theoretically of course, though I doubt this subtely would be lost on them though couched in an obtuse statement, they might be conned into thinking rising sea levels are good for Tsunami protection.

      Actually nothing of the sort, but to fight irrationality one needs to deploy irrationality. Nothing else seems work with these intellectual neanderthals.

      Posted by Louis on 12/28 at 05:19 PM • #


    1. And another thing,

      The ancient city of Alexandria is located 20 metres under the sea off the Nile Delta, Egypt, in the Mediterranean Sea.

      Tell me, was is global warming too, then?

      Those who ignore history, end up repeating it, so the saying goes. But if you never learnt it in the first place….

      Posted by Louis on 12/28 at 05:36 PM • #


    1. Iowahawk knows what caused it. Big Sea Momma not happy.

      Posted by slatts on 12/28 at 05:49 PM • #


    1. So where did Iowahawk source his data from, since none are linked on his comment.  A primary source would be extremely useful to use as a Greeny Whacker.

      Posted by Louis on 12/28 at 06:16 PM • #


    1. You know, I took that Iowahawk thing seriously, too, until I got to the bottom of the second paragraph and saw the “Fire bad” bit.

      That’s how bad the self-parody has gotten on the left. You can’t even tell the difference anymore.

      Posted by Aaron – Free Will on 12/28 at 07:04 PM • #


    1. One person that I spoke with yesterday about the environmentalists blaming this tragedy on humanity had an excellent idea:

      Air drop these pukes into the Amazon Basin with nothing more than a breechcloth, and see how they like living with nature.

      Works for me.  If the Amazon gets full, there’s always the Yukon and Siberia.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 12/28 at 07:18 PM • #


    1. The Iowahawk thing seemed strange, to say the least, with references to scientists identifiable with various well known organisations making such bizarre statements.

      I wasn’t sure it wasn’t a parody since such views are not all that uncommon amongst scientists when their guards are down.

      If it were true I could have had a field day and really stirred up the Bleaters and Quislings.

      Posted by Louis on 12/28 at 07:26 PM • #


    1. I just read the whole thing – Iowahawk – should have done that instead of a rapid scan. D’oh! Much like not reading the instruction manual for a new gadget.

      The last line I really liked, (says I scratching my armpit, nnggggg ngggggs and scuttles back into my tree).

      Mind you with some editing you could sucker in quite a few …….

      Posted by Louis on 12/28 at 07:32 PM • #


    1. Aaron,

      Firebad: Fire is pretty logical – me bad for burning Wood, Rocks which are not White!

      Me cause angry spirits!


      Since I am on hols, and have a major localised global warming issue in the Woodons Apartments here in Fremantle, (the unit is proof indeed we are in a crisis), I have settled down with a few G & T’, a fan on full bore, windows open catching sea breezes, and a brain that is in holiday mode. Too stingy to go to Gerry’s shop and buy a portable aircon.

      Posted by Louis on 12/28 at 07:40 PM • #


    1. At the risk of bringing this thread back to the original post, the thing which makes coastlines vulnerable to tsunamis (which we all used to call Tidal Waves, but tsunami sounds trendy, nouvelle vogue, or at least foreign) is the height of the tsunami relative to the land, not the average sea level. The increased sea level takes a bit more of your local beach. A tsunami gate crashes your home or hotel, or your whole seaside suburb, without asking permission or giving a decade’s warning.

      Posted by blogstrop on 12/28 at 09:08 PM • #


    1. “Unclean money devils anger sacred water spirit Tai-Waku,” explained Martin Knudson of Scripps Oceanic Institute. “He now call angry to son the whale, ‘make slap with anger-tails! Bring vengeance-surf to villagers!’”

      Should we be more worried by the damage man is doing to his environment or the damage being done to our scientific heritage?

      Posted by rexie on 12/28 at 09:24 PM • #


    1. The actual danger is more dangerous for seeming benign : the shallow water menace.  Shallow water is what steepens tidal waves.  Deepening all the water ought to be the priority, particularly around coastlines.

      Posted by rhhardin on 12/28 at 09:32 PM • #


    1. “Tsunami” is Japanese for something like “mountain of water”, a more accurate and appropriate term than “tidal wave”, blogstrop.

      But the rest of your post is spot on!

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 12/28 at 09:33 PM • #


    1. if its in the atlantic I believe its a tidal wave. Something like Typhoon vs Hurricane.

      Posted by weyoun6 on 12/28 at 10:48 PM • #


    1. Personally I blame it on Cthulhu…that nasty bugger is trying to raise Ry’leth again.

      Posted by Andrew Ian Dodge on 12/29 at 12:42 AM • #


    1. I think the reason they’re no longer called “tidal waves” is that they’ve got nothing to do with tides.

      The real culprit here, obviously, is the neoconservative Sharonist-Likudist cabal of international bankers. I am confident that some peace-and-truth-loving organization like DU, Counterpunch, the UN General Assembly, or Chomsky’s pals at the Rudolf Hess Fan Club will discover the connection soon enough and issue a strongly worded condemnation.

      Posted by Aarrgghh on 12/29 at 12:55 AM • #


    1. Tsunami means harbour wave in Japanese. It’s origin is presumed to come from the fact that damage would be greater in settled areas around harbours than in other less accessible (and therefore less populated) coastal regions.

      Posted by Edmund Burke on 12/29 at 01:16 AM • #


    1. What about eating Sky Prawns instead?

      Posted by Andrew on 12/29 at 01:24 AM • #


    1. You’re all wrong.  Allah is pissed.  Again.

      Posted by Uncle Bill on 12/29 at 03:40 AM • #


    1. I might be time to toss a virgin into volcano.

      Posted by Ioxymoron on 12/29 at 05:05 AM • #


    1. Actually, I think Uncle Bill is onto something.  How long before the local imams start recruiting on the notion that Allah is pissed, and they all better shape up (convert) before it happens again?

      Posted by RebeccaH on 12/29 at 05:06 AM • #


    1. Actually tsunamis do have something to do with tides, namely both are long-wavelength waves travelling at great speed, which is both cases is wave speed, not water speed.  The tsunamis can have great energy density however, and when they amplify in shallow water, as both tides and tsunamis do, they can get really big.  There are small ones too.

      The common point might be waves with lengths comparable to deep ocean depth, all of which travel at the same great speed.

      That speed is smaller in shallower water; this slowing down produces growth to compensate, and there’s the trouble.

      Posted by rhhardin on 12/29 at 06:51 AM • #


    1. rhhardin: Okay, I don’t know wtf I’m talking about. Not the first time.

      Posted by Aarrgghh on 12/29 at 07:41 AM • #


  1. The only coastline which is not vunerable to Tsunamis is the Great Australian Bight, which are 100m cliffs descending straight into the ocean. Nice view, swimming is not an option, and quite Tsunami safe.

    The down side is that to the north is the Nullarbor Plain, not exactly a garden of Eden in terms of agricultural production.

    Posted by Louis on 12/29 at 10:02 AM • #