Climate change helps aggressive mangrove forests build bigger tropical islands

Climate change helps aggressive mangrove forests build bigger tropical islands. By Joanne Nova.

The oceans were supposed to be swallowing up the islands

Climate change has unleashed rampant growth in mangrove forests. The trees are capturing coral detritus in large sand drifts, and locking it into whole new ecosystems that expand 5 to 6 meters a year. It’s just remarkable — some islands have grown by several kilometers since 1928.

The Howick Group of islands is north of Cairns Australia. Three scientific expeditions mapped out them out in 1928 and in 1974, and again in 2021, and lo, they have grown, especially in the last four decades. That makes them like most of the 709 islands of the Pacific and Indian oceans that were studied a few years ago. Satellites showed that 89% of those islands had grown.

It turns out warmer more carbon rich world makes mangroves happy. Who could have seen that coming, apart from every biologist on Earth?


Mangroves are expanding on the Howick Group islands in the Great Barrier Reef

The Sydney Morning Herald even managed to let their readers know. We can appreciate their struggle with the headline: “Magic mangroves a ‘blue carbon’ buffer for Great Barrier Reef

Apparently, the news is not that tropical islands are loving climate change and growing, which the models didn’t predict. What matters is that mangroves are “magical” carbon sinks, because the world revolves around your carbon footprint. “Blue Carbon” means carbon dioxide trapped by a mangrove that ends up being sequestered underwater. …

At this rate, the Arafura sea may disappear in the next two thousand years, forming a mangrove land bridge between Papua New Guinea and Australia.

Friends of the Arafura Sea immediately started a fundraising campaign and lobbying for a seat at the UN. Meanwhile UNESCO warned that the new threat to the Great Barrier Reef Heritage listing was uncontrolled forest growth and they needed half a billion dollars to assess it.

It will go into reverse, now that global cooling is setting in.