In response to this rising threat, the Maldives is working on enhancing the resilience of the country’s islands, which includes constructing the artificial island of Hulhumalé – visible northeast of the airport island of Hulhulé.
The Republic of Maldives consist of a chain of around 1200 small coral islands that are grouped into clusters of atolls – Malé, located at the southern edge of the North Malé Atoll, can be easily spotted in the right of the image. The island is small enough to walk around in approximately one hour, with most sights concentrated on its northern shore. Malé is both a trade and tourist centre, connected with Sri Lanka and India by steamship lines, with several vessels visible in the image.
With a population of more than 200 000 and an area of around eight sq km, Malé is one of the most densely populated cities in the world with the city covering almost the entire island.
With more than 80% of the Maldives’ land standing less than one metre above average sea level, the Maldives has the lowest terrain of any country in the world. This makes the archipelago particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise.
Sea-level rise is a key indicator of climate change so accurately monitoring the changing height of the sea surface over decades is essential for climate science, for policy-making and, ultimately, for protecting the lives of those in low-lying regions at risk.
Satellite data have shown that the global ocean has risen, on average, 3 mm a year over the last 25 years. Warming ocean waters, melting glaciers and diminishing ice sheets is making rising sea levels a real threat for low-lying islands such as the Maldives
Source: ESA images copyright