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The Solomon Islands competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 5 to 21 August 2016.
This was the nation's ninth consecutive appearance at the Summer Olympics.
But the new study directly links island loss to climate-related phenomena.
Human disturbances, plate tectonics, hurricanes, and waves can mask the effects of climate change.
The Solomon Islands have lost five atolls and seen at least six more severely eroded, as sea levels rose over recent decades, according to a study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
Australian researchers used time-series aerial and satellite imagery dating back to 1947 to identify “five vegetated reef islands that have vanished,” and “a further six islands experiencing severe shoreline recession”.
finds that five of the uninhabitated Solomon Islands have submerged underwater and six more have experienced dramatic shoreline reductions due to man-made climate change.
The islands lost to the sea range in size from one to five hectares and supported dense tropical vegetation that was at least 300 years old.
So to hone in on those effects, the researchers studied islands with no human habitation—Nuatambu Island being the one notable exception.
“Rates of shoreline recession are substantially higher in areas exposed to high wave energy, indicating a synergistic interaction between sea-level rise and waves,” the study authors said.
That evidence consists in part of radiocarbon tree dating and of aerial and satellite images of 33 islands dating back to 1947.
According to the study authors, the Western Pacific, where residents in many remote communities must constantly climb to higher elevations, is a hotspot for tracking sea-level rise.