Two views on sea level rise and coral atolls.
The Weather Channel has a report on sea level rise and uses the Kiribati atoll as an example. The highest point on the atoll is about 10 feet above sea level. Sea level rise is between now and 2100 is expected to be between 1 and 5 feet. The Weather Channel has a tale of destruction of the atoll and the population long gone. This is pretty typical of the sea level rise and coral atoll predictions. All assume the atolls are static fixtures.
Professor Paul Kench, writing the The Conversation, says Pacific Island atolls are dynamic. They tend to respond and grow with sea level rise. Storm surges and tsunamis tend to build atoll islands, sometimes reshaping them. His study of atoll history for 5,000 years indicates that Jabat Island, in the Marshall Islands, was formed at a sea level 1.5 meters higher than the present. This was consistent with The Great Barrier Reef and the Maldives which were formed under falling, rising and stable sea level conditions. Studies over the last century have shown that islands survive and can grow with rising sea levels. Professor Kench’s theory is that the atolls are resilient and show a dynamic response to changing sea conditions. Changing conditions may affect the population short term, but the long-term outlook is not as dire as predicted.
The static view says the island atolls are fragile and brittle. The dynamic model says they can survive changing conditions and may well better explain how the islands managed to survive.