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Disputed Island Disappears Into Sea 460

RawJoe writes "India and Bangladesh have argued for almost 30 years over control of a tiny island in the Bay of Bengal. Now rising sea levels have ended the argument for them: the island's gone. From the article: 'New Moore Island, in the Sunderbans, has been completely submerged, said oceanographer Sugata Hazra, a professor at Jadavpur University in Calcutta. Its disappearance has been confirmed by satellite imagery and sea patrols, he said. "What these two countries could not achieve from years of talking, has been resolved by global warming," said Hazra.'"


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Disputed Island Disappears Into Sea

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  • by Merls the Sneaky ( 1031058 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:30AM (#31625952)

    If you can't play nice with your toys and share, mom will take them off you.

    • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:33AM (#31626024)

      If you can't play nice with your toys and share, mom will take them off you.

      "Buy land. They've stopped making it." -- Mark Twain.

      Addendum: They're deleting it now too.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sopssa ( 1498795 ) *

        But it's not like its completely gone now. According to the article the sea level is raising 5 millimeters (0.2 inches) an year, so the water is only just a little bit over the land. Lay over some sand, wood, whatever and you have land again - or build those wooden houses on piers. Venice is also build on top of water in the middle of a lagoon.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:13AM (#31626708)

          You appear to have forgotten about soil erosion, which is a big problem with unconsolidated soils which are recently submerged.

          And regardin edification, you can't just build stuff on disputed land. Israel does that but it only does that because the people they are oppressing can barely muster any rocks to throw at them. You don't do that to a nation which has a semblance of an army.

        • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:28AM (#31626970) Homepage Journal

          Spoken like somebody who has no idea the power that moving water has.

          Water takes material from some places and piles it up in others, and it's incredibly hard to dispute with it. You might look at a sandbar that has been stable for decades, and think maybe I could shift it a bit to suit myself, or make it a little higher and have an island. Forget it. That sandbar is the result of self-organized criticality. It *looks* stable, but the individual sand grains in that sandbar are constantly changing.

          My wife grew up near the ocean, and there was this semi circular reef extending from two points on the shore that comes out of the water on spring tides, when you can walk the whole thing. Many times I've surfed my kayak over that reef into the deep water inside. The reef consists of cobbles ranging from the size of a grapefruit to the size of a soccer ball. One day one of the neighborhood kids had an idea: if we breech the reef at one point, we'll be able to anchor our boats inside the reef and not have to pay for a slip or launch fees. Next low tide he had the entire neighborhood carrying rocks away from the selected point, until they'd converted the reef into a pair of breakwaters creating an artificial harbor. It was an impressive feat, but the first storm -- not even a *big* storm mind you, and you couldn't tell the spot they excavated from any other spot. There literally was no trace left of their labors.

          What you'd have to do with this sunken island is create a new, artificial island using huge granite boulders like they use in breakwaters; or maybe you could set up coffer dams and build a reinforced concrete sea wall. But you have to admit that you're creating an artificial island.

          The reason that India and Bangladesh are fighting over this is to establish Law of the Sea rights to the surrounding water. They are trying to evade negotiations over resource disputes by appealing to a "natural" right in artificial law. Using an uninhabited island to establish territorial sovereignty is dicey enough. Using an *artificial* island is clearly absurd.

          They should just resolve the underlying dispute, instead of using legal flim-flammery.

          • by erikdotla ( 609033 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @12:38PM (#31628088)

            You gave me a great visual which got completely out of control in my head:

            Imagine India read your message and thought, "Hey, if we just GO there and build an artificial island, we'd clearly be reamed by the international community... but if we LAUNCHED enormous granite boulders from India into the sea as part of, say, a scientific experiment, and they happened to land on that island and were big enough, we'd have sovereignty again!"

            Then of course, Bangladeshi spies discover the plan and formulate a boulder launching initiative of their own.

            There's a great boulder arms race, a frantic push to move boulders to the coast, boulders destroyed before they can be loaded by opposition spies, boulder transport sabotage, and when they finally reach the coast and the enormous catapults specifically built by whichever local contractor said they could get them done in time are deployed, the great boulder launching war begins, each launching boulders "harmlessly" as part of scientific experiments toward the same island at the same time, using catapults prone to poor accuracy due to the late contractor bidding and the fact that they were built in India and Bangladesh.

            I can see the headline now:
            Indian statesman quoted as saying "This is the fourth incident of Bangladeshi's clearly ruthlessly expansionist government interfering with our harmless scientific experiments through high-tech mid-air boulder tracking technology they have secretly been developing with neighboring terrorist states for years."

    • Duck Dodgers in the 24th 1/2 Century [youtube.com] seems even more apropos. Only difference is that it's an island instead of Planet X.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jellomizer ( 103300 )

      That would be my approach to Israel and Palestine problems with Jerusalem Just say no one owns the areas... No residences are allowed but you can visit it for the history and religious pilgrimages. Perhaps the UN will make sure everyone plays fair in the area.

  • by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:31AM (#31625966) Journal
    I say this year we nominate Global Warming for the Nobel Peace Prize for providing a peaceful solution to this heated dispute between Bangladesh and India.
  • Fascinating (Score:5, Funny)

    by digitalhermit ( 113459 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:31AM (#31625974) Homepage

    New Moore Island, eh?

    So the new name is now No More Island, right?

  • by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:32AM (#31625980) Homepage

    I thought global warming was a myth? Darth Cheney said so.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:39AM (#31626128)

      I thought global warming was a myth? Darth Cheney said so.

      That was when it was cold outside. Now it's warm outside, so global warming must be real. It will go back to being a myth in a few months.

  • HEY now. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mekkah ( 1651935 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:32AM (#31625998) Journal
    It's not Global Warming it's Global Climate change. That way, when it comes resurfaces, we can blame it again!
    • Re:HEY now. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bunratty ( 545641 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:55AM (#31626408)

      It's not about "blame". It's about predicting what will happen if we engage in a particular activity. The warming due to humans burning fossil fuels was predicted over 100 years ago [wikipedia.org], and we're now observing that predicted warming. We now have confirmation that burning fossil fuels causes warming, so we know we can lessen the warming by burning fewer fossil fuels.

      If you know that germs cause disease, you can improve sanitation and lessen disease. It has nothing to do with "blaming" germs!

      • Re:HEY now. (Score:5, Informative)

        by inthealpine ( 1337881 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:09AM (#31626628)
        Everyone was having fun until the climate change evangelist showed up.
        I mean has anyone even looked into exactly why water covers more of the island now? Have the coast lines reflected the same gain? Is the island sinking under it's own weight?
        I know I'm killing everyone's climate change buzz by asking some basic questions, but it's not my fault the climate change evangelist made me do it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Botia ( 855350 )

      Funny thing. The waters seem to rise and fall two times each day. I always thought the big circles in the sky had something to do with it.

  • I learned that from my parents - "If the two of you can't share, neither of you gets the toy." As a side note, I doubt I was particularly happy at that, as I was an only child, and toys generally truly were mine.
  • by DriedClexler ( 814907 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:34AM (#31626048)

    *sigh* Dude, the correct answer is, "No, no! Let him have it! Please! Just don't destroy it! I love it too much!" Shame on India and Bengaladesh!

    Everyone knows that [wikipedia.org] by now!

  • Wait - what? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:34AM (#31626052)

    From TFA: Until 2000, the sea levels rose about 3 millimeters (0.12 inches) a year, but over the last decade they have been rising about 5 millimeters (0.2 inches) annually

    So er we're talking a foot of water every 60 years? Sounds almost scary, except when you put it into context [wikipedia.org]. Increases in sea level are not new phenomena. No doubt they were produced by all that fossil fuel consumption 20,000 years ago.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:36AM (#31626080)

    Sea levels can't just rise in one place. They haven't risen enough to submerge islands. Period. Subsidence is to blame here.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Have you seen the moon recently? No? That's because it parked over the Bay of Bengal whislt it went into India for a quick curry, and someone clamped it for not obeying the laws of motion. The clamping company won't release the moon until the fine is paid, but the moon has no money to pay for its own release. So high tide is permanently over the Bay of Bengal now.

    • by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @12:50PM (#31628342)

      Sea levels can't just rise in one place.

      Yes they can. For one example, consider the difference in sea level between the two sides of the Panama Canal of about 8 inches, mostly due to salinity and air pressure differences.

  • Super! (Score:2, Insightful)

    See, we just need to understand that global climate change isn't good or bad. It's both. It solves problems and creates them. We just have to accept that it will happen, and continue to do whatever we're doing. No need to change anything, just ride out the changes. We can live without coral and fish. It'll be fine. Because now we have less land to fight over. Which will result in less conflict because we'll be able to peacefully come to agreements about how to divide the less amount of remaining lan

  • Rising sea level? (Score:5, Informative)

    by johndiii ( 229824 ) * on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:41AM (#31626152) Journal

    According to the article, sea level has been rising by 0.2 inches per year. This would imply a rise of about two inches since 2000. Over the previous twenty years (back to the origin of the dispute over the island), the rise would have been about 2.4 inches, using the figures in the article. So the island, at its highest point would have been less than five inches above sea level.

    According to the Wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org], the "highest elevation of the island had never exceeded two meters above sea level." Which would indicate that it was at least one meter above sea level at some point, meaning that the cited increases in sea level could not have accounted for the disappearance of the island. For the quoted rise in sea level over time, it would take about 330 years for the sea to rise one meter.

    Yet "oceanographer Sugata Hazra, a professor at Jadavpur University in Calcutta" said "What these two countries could not achieve from years of talking, has been resolved by global warming." One would think that a university professor would have a slightly better grasp of the numbers than that. It helps nothing to make clearly false claims about the effects of climate change.

    • by Scootin159 ( 557129 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:53AM (#31626392) Homepage
      And if it was only 2.4 inches "high", one would think that most of the day the island would be underwater anyways. I'm not an expert on tides, but I'm pretty sure they're more than 3 inches in most places.
    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      What they didn't mention was that the "point" in question was on top of a politician's head.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pz ( 113803 )

      Yet "oceanographer Sugata Hazra, a professor at Jadavpur University in Calcutta" said "What these two countries could not achieve from years of talking, has been resolved by global warming." One would think that a university professor would have a slightly better grasp of the numbers than that. It helps nothing to make clearly false claims about the effects of climate change.

      Agreed. Loss of a small island mass is more likely to be due to water-based excavation below the surface and the resultant settling of the land mass. We don't know, for example, that this island is on bedrock. If it is a silt deposit, then there's no reason to assume it has permanence in anything but the shortest time spans. That part of the world is one huge river delta, lending credence to the silt deposit idea.

      A couple of web clicks, and WIkipedia's introductory, summary sentence says it all: "South

  • by will_die ( 586523 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:45AM (#31626234) Homepage
    For people thinking this was a huge old island that is not so. The island came into being during the 1970 after a cyclone.
    Since the talk that it is gone came from a single photo will be interesting to know if the picture was taken during high or low tide.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ephemeriis ( 315124 )

      Since the talk that it is gone came from a single photo will be interesting to know if the picture was taken during high or low tide.

      From the summary at the top of this very page:

      Its disappearance has been confirmed by satellite imagery and sea patrols

  • ...the Netherlands. Oh, and Venice. We'll all end up as game addicts in a suburb of Sprawlopolis.
  • by gblackwo ( 1087063 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:50AM (#31626324) Homepage
    If the water is still less than say 3 feet deep, crossbreed some sheep with dolphins and start farming leaping mutton!
  • by Shihar ( 153932 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:51AM (#31626350)

    I know OMFG global warming is hip and all, but this almost certainly wasn't a case of rising sea levels. Sea levels are rising REALLY slowly. That isn't to say that a big hunk of the antarctic couldn't melt and slide off into the ocean and give me some beach front property, just that it hasn't happened yet. The island almost certainly simply sunk into the ground. The earth sucks stuff down and pushes other stuff up all the time. It happens.

  • If no one has done so yet, this story needs to be tagged "Leshp"

  • by cinnamon colbert ( 732724 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:55AM (#31626430) Journal
    a few days ago this was a top story on yahoo home page, with another picture, if you right clicked on the photo on th yahoo site, the info strongly suggested the photo was stock of someplace else, aka a lie
  • Sandbar, not island (Score:5, Informative)

    by Orgasmatron ( 8103 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:57AM (#31626456)

    This is a sandbar in an estuary. It first accumulated enough silt to poke above the surface back in 1974, and was never more than 2 meters high. In addition, the nearest tide gauge is showing +0.54 (+/- 0.52, heh) mm per year rise in sea level, meaning that it would have taken nearly 4000 years for the local change in sea level to have caused it to disappear.

    If you insist on bringing up global warming, you have to blame the sandbar's emergence on global cooling during the 70s and notice that we are now back where we started. A much wiser choice would be to simply notice that rivers flush crap down stream, and ignore this "island" the way we ignore all the other sandbars and ephemera.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/25/bengal-island-succumbs-to-global-warming-nonsense-ap-gets-nutty-over-loss-of-a-sandbar/ [wattsupwiththat.com]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Talpatti_Island [wikipedia.org]

    Move along, nothing to see here.

  • by ugen ( 93902 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:11AM (#31626664)

    This is clearly *not* global warming or "rising seas" but old boring "erosion" (I know, not fun).
    Consider this - less than 30 years ago India could sent paratroopers to this island's "rocky shores" (sic).
    Seas were rising 2mm per year until 2000 and 5mm per year thereafter, so we are talking about a rise of 2*20 + 5 * 10 = 90 mm , less than 10cm, or for those US-residents - about 3.5 inches.

    I am sorry, but something smells fishy here - a place can't be 3.5 inches above water surface and have "rocky shores" which paratroopers can walk on. Consider that a tidal range in those parts is at least a few feet, so those 3.5 inches would have to completely disappear under water once or twice a day. That would make this land a "shoal" by any maritime definition.

    If this island no longer exists it is because it has been washed away, as these things often occur, especially in river deltas - perhaps after a cyclone or hurricane. Nothing to see here, move along.

  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:17AM (#31626766)

    You kids today think you have it so tough because all you can come up with in your "WE ALL GONNA DIE!" scenario is that you might have to abandon a few coastal cities and loose a few fucking islands?!?!? Let me tell you something, ladies--back in my day, we had REAL fears, like nuclear winter. We had roving packs of post-nuclear-holocaust marauders ready to cut our heads off just to steal a lousy tank of gasoline and some shotgun shells in OUR fucking doomsday scenarios! Has a little rising seawater ever caused your hair and teeth to fall out? Huh? Has a little coastal flooding ever caused packs of cannibals to roam the lands looking to rape your wife and have you for dinner? I don't think so! Ever had a supercomputer start an apocalyptic war with some slowly melting ice caps? Not likely!

    Grow up and get some real irrational fears, you pansies.

  • by mdsolar ( 1045926 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:21AM (#31626850) Homepage Journal
    The Chesapeake Bay loses islands (famously in Michener's novel) and there is a nice essay about it here: http://www.bayjournal.com/article.cfm?article=1116 [bayjournal.com]
  • This is pus... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rickb928 ( 945187 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:26AM (#31626936) Homepage Journal

    So the Wikipedia (I know) says New Moore Island was never higher [wikipedia.org] than two meters above the water. Oh, and that was at low tide. Was this any more than a shoal?

    Are you (or the FA writer) claiming the ocean there has risen as much as more than a meter???

    I call BS. In fact, I suspect it was erosion that has claimed this island. Maybe, MAYBE accelrated by a few centimeters rise in ocean level, if at all. Wind and water do just fine on their own. In fact, the island was close to, if not within, the main channel of the outlet of the Hariabhanga River. Erosion and currents probably did it in.

    What a pantload. Global warming? More likely predictable current-based erosion.

    New Moore Island wasn't much of an island. The river took it back.

  • by Jerry ( 6400 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:56AM (#31627328)

    One can easily check the last 10 years of photos of that region and determine that the coastal area less than 3 miles from the island hasn't changed at all. IF the ocean was rising enough to cover the island it should also move the shore back enough to be visible in the photos. It hasn't. I suspect that local subsidence and/or erosion is responsible. But, when you religiously believe in the AGW Hammer everything you see is a nail.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheSync ( 5291 )

      I suspect that local subsidence and/or erosion is responsible.

      Subsidence is typical in deltas if there has been any kind of civil engineering projects such as diversion of freshwater for human use, dykes, or other flood control projects. And indeed, this has occurred in the Ganges delta.

      This link [blogspot.com] claims that subsidence in the Ganges delta is 4mm/year, while sea level rise is only 1.4mm/year.

"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon." -- Howard Chaykin