Vanishing island

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JAN. 4 — Rising ocean waters for the first time have consumed an inhabited island.

LohacharaIsland, an islet in the Sundarban delta near West Bengal, India, is completely under water, England’s The Independent newspaper reports. Researchers apparently discovered the island’s disappearance when they saw that it had vanished from satellite images.

Once home to 10,000 people, LohacharaIsland was permanently flooded in the 1980s, reports say, but this winter became completely submerged. Nearly two-thirds of another nearby inhabited island, Ghoramara, also is under water, the Independent news report says. There are a dozen other islands in India’s portion of the delta that are reportedly in danger of being consumed by water.

Some experts say the disappearance of Lohachara is a sign that global warming is a true phenomenon, the report says. Nearly a decade ago uninhabited islands in the Pacific atoll nation of Kiribati were overtaken by water. Until now, the CarteretIslands off Papua, New Guinea, were expected to be the first inhabited islands to disappear.

Experts say climate changes caused a massive ice shelf to break free from an island in the Canadian Arctic south of the North Pole, an Associated Press report says. The 41-square-mile Ayles Ice Shelf broke off 16 months ago.

“This is a dramatic and disturbing event,” Warwick Vincent, of Canada’s LavalUniversity, says in the report. “It shows that we are losing remarkable features of the Canadian North that have been in place for many thousands of years. We are crossing climate thresholds, and these may signal the onset of accelerated change ahead.”

Jason Fell