Talk:Carteret Islands

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Terry source[edit]

Is there a source for this: "However, Fred Terry, the director of the United Nations Development Project on Bougainville, said the destruction of reefs in the Carterets with dynamite might be the cause (of flooding on Carteret Islands)." I can't find it Albatross2147 23:51, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

There was some POV stuff in this that I either removed or moved into a new section on "disagreements on the causes of flooding". Mahonia 00:42, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

Source for Fred Terry found, and added. The section "disagreements on the causes of flooding" has vanished since 2006. SEWilco (talk) 13:12, 7 April 2014 (UTC)


the guardian article calls these islands the "Carteret Atolls." pages should definately be merged, and perhaps moved to Carteret Atolls. --naught101 04:37, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

There are 6 islands, one Atoll. I visited them last year see ( The articles could definitely be merged. The Islanders themselves refer to their home most often as the "Carteret Islands" not Carteret Atoll. The plural of Atoll "S" in the Guardian article seems to be a gramatical error. There is only one atoll in the Carterets group, though there are 3 more Atolls in the same province.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Pipstarr (talkcontribs)

Based on what Pipstarr has said about how the inhabitants refer to their atoll/islands, I think the article should be titled Carteret Islands and Carteret Atoll should redirect. I am merging the two articles accordingly. --Takver 15:35, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

Ties to Global Climate Change?[edit]

I believe in the notion of human-induced global climate change, but I'm having a difficult time understanding the supposed ties between global warming and the submergence of these islands. I assume that if the cause is global warming, the rising seas would be due to melting ice caps, etc., and that this would most likely be coming from Antarctica, as that would be the nearest icecap location for the Carteret Islands.

No, the putative cause of sea level rise due to global warming is primarily due to thermal expansion. The rise due to ice melting is estimated to be only about 0.3 mm/yr (about just over an inch per century). -- Securiger 12:51, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

However, what I do not understand is why the sea levels are apparently not rising in other locations, such as in Australia or New Zealand, which the water would have to pass by before reaching the Carteret Islands. I have heard no indication that the sea levels are rising in Australia, which is something that should be obvious, given the many seaways and canals which are monitored regularly for boating purposes in places like Australia's eastern Gold Coast. Over time, a gradual increase in the average sea level would be apparent, even in light of changing tides, ocean swells, etc. If there are reliable reports of rising sea levels in Australia, New Zealand, or elsewhere in Oceania, these should probably be referenced in this article.

Your question is completely reasonable. The total sea level rise during the last 100 years is estimated to be about 20 cm (8 inches). Since this is far less than normal sea level variation it cannot possibly explain the problems on the Carterets. -- Securiger

My main point is that if this theory were true, I do not understand the physics behind why the water from the icecaps would completely bypass a continent and inexplicably bunch up around the Carteret Islands, instead of being more evenly distributed.

Perhaps there is something more subtle going on here that is not fully explained in the article. If there is, this mechanism needs to be explained more clearly in the article. If there isn't, the article needs to point out that this theory does not mesh with physics and is, therefore, physically impossible. --DavidGC 04:43, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

I think from my understanding that because these islands are so low in height that any slight change will affect them more than say a continent like Australia that rises many hundreds of metres out of the water. The reason, because storm swells will do more damage to low lying islands in the middle of the ocean, when there is an increase in water level. Of course the water will rise everywhere else as well, but shall do less damage in the high water surges. Get a more complete picture and ask questions over at Climate warming. Nomadtales 22:28, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, Nomadtales, that doesn't make sense. It might have proportionally more effect on a smaller land mass, but not in absolute terms. That is, mountaintops in Australia might be safe, but if seashore communities in the Carterets are being flooded, then seashore communities in Australia should be, too. The fact that no such effect is observed is explained simply by the fact that total sea level rise due to global warming, so far to date, is far too small to cause flooding anywhere it doesn't occur anyway, because the increase is much smaller than common natural variations such as tides. -- Securiger 12:51, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

1.5 metres?[edit]

I wonder if anyone could explain the following puzzle to me. Our article claims that the highest point on the Carterets is 1.5 m above sea level. When not otherwise qualified, "sea level" normally means mean sea level. However, normal variation in sea level is commonly of the same order if not more. Typical tidal range for oceanic islands is about 0.6 m, increasing up to about 0.9 m twice a month (hence, peaking 0.3 to 0.45 m above MSL.) On top of this, swell is rarely less than 0.8 m in amplitude and commonly reaches 2.2 m even in calm weather, or much more when driven by distant storms. Local wave height can then be added on top of that. Consequently, any island with a peak elevation of 1.5 m above MSL could expect to be completely overtopped by waves several times a week even in fairly calm weather. That's just the highest point; most of the island's area is at a lower elevation, and will be submerged must more often. And it doesn't take a full blown storm to completely submerge such an island, a tropical depression during a spring tide will suffice. Yet full blown tropical storms do occur there, often, and in fact full blown typhoons occur once every couple of years. During a strong tropical depression or tropical storm, such an island will be completely underwater -- several metres underwater during the biggest waves.

In short, nevermind 20 cm sea level changes, I don't see how such an island could be inhabitable at all. Can anyone explain this? -- Securiger 12:51, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

Relocation of the inhabitants[edit]

This is not the first island whose inhabitants have been relocated. In 1930 the inhabitants of St Kilda, NE Atlantic) were relocated to the Scottish mainland. The reasons were not rising sea-level, but the increasing age of the islanders and the growing marginality of their existence. Hence the remark on rising sea level has been inserted —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:38, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Relevance of Papua New Guinea?[edit]

The South Pacific Sea Level and Climate Monitoring Project, an Australian government initiative, have documented sea-level rise in the Papua New Guinea region at approximately 6.2mm per year.[1]

The above was removed because the source does not mention Carteret, and Papua New Guinea is on a different tectonic plate. [1] The shore's sea levels can not be compared. -- SEWilco (talk) 21:23, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Erm, sorry, I don't follow your reasoning. Steric or even ENSO-related sea level, which is what the SPSLCMP study was measuring, is unrelated to what tectonic plate the Carterets are on. Can you please state whether your objection to the new material has further substance, or if it is based on a personal bias? Thanks. Arjuna (talk) 21:37, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

P.S. I share a concern that the language be cautious and not prematurely state that the evidence is definitive, because it isn't. At the same time, 1. the story is out there; 2. regional tidal gauge data are suggestive; and 3. it is consistent with IPCC projections. You may or may not disagree with the IPCC (I don't know where you're coming from), but these are the facts. I acknowledge that there is also legitimate reason to suspect that subsidence and/or erosion may be at least equally likely, but this isn't about OR, it's about what's known. Let's try to find neutral language that indicates these facts. Cheers, Arjuna (talk) 22:00, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Flooding can be caused by many things and a sinking island is not the same cause as rising sea level. The height of the land of an island is affected by many factors (see Sea level). Tectonic movement is one thing which can change the height of an island. Measurements on an island which is on a different tectonic plate are not directly applicable to Carteret, which is also separated by two oceanic trenches from the geologic structures of Papua New Guinea. Indeed, the "Estimation of current plate motions..." external link has different movement numbers for Carteret and Port Moresby in Table 1. -- SEWilco (talk) 01:02, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
There also was no source to indicate that the islanders' problems were caused by a regional rise of 7 millimeters (the thickness of four Quarter (United States coin).) -- SEWilco (talk) 01:13, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Bouganville conflict[edit]

A little more description is needed about "the prolonged Bouganville conflict"; the link goes to a disambiguation page. Should it point to the World War II event? -- SEWilco (talk) 06:21, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Nuguria nearby not flooding[edit]

I saw the ABC "Foreign Correspondent" article about the Carteret Islands being inundated by risinig sea levels, with footage to "back up" the claims. This is far more likely to be caused by the atoll sinking due to tectonic/volcanic activity...there are quite a number of small and and very active plates in the PNG region. Some records of Matupit island (200km from Carterets) rising 2m in six months do exist, recorded at the old Rabaul vulcanology station. CSIRO recorded the sea level for six months at Milne Bay (1987-88) which showed a 45cm drop in sea levels...or a rise in the land mass. JS Godfrey at CSIRO attributed this fall to the ENSO event of 1987. A 45cm change of sea level at 9-degrees South implies an unrealistically large change in geostrophic transports around the Solomon/Bismarck area!

During the mid and late sixties I visited Nuguria atoll (my father was inspecting PNG airports) which is quite close to the Carterets, and Nuguria still looks the same now as it did in 1968. The runway is still in use, being 4ft above the high tide mark. Lewis Carson (plantation owner) had Nuguria surveyed in 1925 and the highest point above MSL was only 6 feet. (STRM data, and the like, would appear to be measuring from the tops of the coconut trees.) The runway at Boang Island, in the Tangar group, is still in use (built late 1967) and was no more than 3 feet above the high tide mark in 1967.

The waters and land masses north of Australia are a "black hole" in terms of geophysical data. There are some attempts to measure long-term sea level changes around this area, but none of the stations measure bottom pressure in conjunction with surface pressure. It is absolutely essential to do this. Even very basic information such as tidal amplitudes/phases are rare. The European Space Agency faced this problem with the ERS mission; altimetric data needs to be de-tided. ESA had to send an envoy on a tour of Australian universities to try and locate this information. The deficiencies in Australian science policies, like the Barrier Reef, are visible from space!

                                         Ketabatic (talk) 14:56, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

NASA image[edit]

The NASA image used in the introductory section is not an image of the "Carteret Islands". It is an image of Roncador Reef - a possession of the Solomon Islands. It is one of a handful images that NASA has wrongly identified in its image database. Most of those "wrong" images happen to be on Wikipedia also. If someone were to look at a map of this atoll you'll notice that it has an entirely different shape to one in the image. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:14, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Nearby islands Nuguria, Mortlock and Tasman also affected by rising sea levels[edit]

The PNG Post Courier has recently reported (15.4.09) that Nuguria is indeed affected by the flooding, along with other islands:

'MORTLOCK, Nuguria and Tasman islands on the Autonomous Region of Bougainville would like to be included in the relocation program undertaken by the Autonomous Bougainville Government. They said this week that the relocation program should not cover only the Carteret Islanders but all the atoll islands as rising sea levels were now taking away their coastlines and their food gardens. Fead Island (Nuguria Islands) chiefs Tau Tom and Gideon Wampa said Carteret Island was getting too much attention from the ABG while the other islands were also facing similar situations from rising sea levels. They were talking to a delegation from Bougainville Regional MP Fidelis Semoso’s office that were on the islands to deliver relief supplies.' (talk) 14:40, 15 May 2009 (UTC)


With a population of 1000 in 2005, how can there be 1700 left to still evacuate, did their population double in the last 5 years? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Brendan Croft (talkcontribs) 01:14, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

Hello Brendan!

The evacuation hasn't progressed at all, only a few number of families have been relocated so far. You'll find a link to recent interview with Ursula Rakova from Tulele Peisa in this article.

Nevertheless, the total number of inhabitants remains vague. Tulele Peisa estimates that there are about 1700 people (or 600 families), according to its web site . We think’s that the most reliable estimate available right now. Numbers named in media coverage differ widely. More Links:

--CarteretsNow (talk) 15:02, 12 July 2011 (UTC)


Can anyone give a source for the name "Weteili" for the main settlement on the atoll? I have been to the Carterets: There is only on settlement on Han everyone is referring to simple as Han (at least towards visitors and as far as I can tell). --CarteretsNow (talk) 15:02, 12 July 2011 (UTC)


What I learned about coral atolls in geology classes is their ring shape is caused by the gradual subsidence of unstable volcanic cones. The coral began building up in shallow water around the base of the volcano and kept adding layer on layer as the island sank, with the ever increasing weight of the coral buildup helping push it down. An atoll without any of the original volcanic cone above water is a very old atoll. My guess is the faster sinking ones are built up on cindercone or stratovolcano types, while shield volcanoes (like the Hawaiian islands) are mostly solid, hard lava rock that resists subsidence. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:19, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Original Research trimming[edit]

Following removed from the end of the remaining OR in the "Cause" section. Looks like much other OR has been removed from that section.

This means that if the Carteret Islands' tectonic plate is moving (tilting) vertically relative to sea-level where the islands are located, the plate would tend to tilt up, not down—assuming that movement has no measurable effect on sea-level, itself. This is a technical consideration related to how a very large earthquake (a movement or tilting of a tectonic plate) can cause enough change in the distribution of mass that the rotation of the Earth—and thus the center-of-mass of the Earth—and thus sea-level—can measurably change relative to some (but not all) land (see 2004 Indian Ocean earth quake). From the JASON satellite in orbit around the Earth, however, the real effects of even this small change, such as a change in the oblateness of the ocean surface across the curvature of the Earth, can still be clearly sorted out since that is exactly what the JASON satellite is doing when it maps variations in sea-level caused by gravitational field variations.

SEWilco (talk) 13:21, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ "Pacific Country Report: Sea Level and Climate: Their Present State. Papua New Guinea" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-11-28.