Scientists say many Northwestern Hawaiian Islands might be submerged by 2100 because of global warming, National Geographic News reported.
The islands, administered by the State of Hawaii, are part of a scattered archipelago stretching about 1,200 miles across the Pacific Ocean. The mostly uninhabited islands are home to colonies of many unique animals such as bird species and rare seals and sea turtles that will be affected as their low-lying island homes become submerged, researchers told NGN.
Ironically, the same islands, atolls and coral reefs are to soon become part of the largest marine sanctuary in the United States, if approved by the Bush Administration.
Scientists say Pacific sea levels rose nearly 6 inches around the islands during the 20th century and water levels are expected to rise farther and more quickly this century as global warming continues, NGN reported.
The researchers report their findings in the latest issue of the journal Endangered Species Research.
Copyright 2006 by United Press International
Explore further: 3Qs: Game theory and global climate talks