chapter  12
8 Pages

Shifting Tides: Climate Change, Migration, and Agency in Tuvalu

The islands of Tuvalu are geologically very young and dynamic, subject to subsidence, reef growth, and eroding and accreting forces of the sea and weather (Baines, Beveridge, and Maragos 1974). In addition to complex geomorphology, limited technical research contributes to scientifi c debate about how the islands will be affected by sea-level rise (Hunter 2004; Webb and Kench 2010). Nonetheless, there is broad agreement on the general effects of climate change that include sea-level rise, sea-surface and subsurface temperature increases, ocean acidifi cation and coral bleaching, coastal erosion, increased intensity but decreased frequency of rainfall, and increased frequency of other extreme weather events including drought (Nurse et al. 2014). Already, an upward trend in sea-level rise is discernable at the sealevel gauge on Funafuti, the island that is home to the national capital, of 2 ± 1 mm per year over the period 1950 to 2001. Continued and increasing rates of sea-level rise will lead to increased coastal erosion, fl ooding, and compromised freshwater resources (Church, White, and Hunter 2006).