Global Warming Affects Even the Dead, Washes Up World War II Graves in Marshall Islands

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | June 9, 2014 12:36 PM EST

Global warming this time has affected even the bodies of the dead from World War II. The foreign minister of the Marshall Islands disclosed over the weekend that rising sea water levels have washed the remains of Japanese World War II soldiers from their graves.


The Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica is seen in this undated NASA image. Vast glaciers in West Antarctica seem to be locked in an irreversible thaw linked to global warming that may push up sea levels for centuries, scientists said on May 12, 2014. Six glaciers including the Thwaites Glacier, eaten away from below by a warming of sea waters around the frozen continent, were flowing fast into the Amundsen Sea, according to the report based partly on satellite radar measurements from 1992 to 2011. REUTERS/NASA/Handout via Reuters

The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands, is a low-lying island country located in the northern Pacific Ocean. Its highest point is just two metres above the waters.

"There are coffins and dead people being washed away from graves. It's that serious," Reuters quoted Tony de Brum on the sidelines of U.N. climate change talks in Germany.

He said 26 skeletons they believed were Japanese World War II soldiers were found on Santo Island after high tides engulfed the archipelago from February to April.

"We think they are Japanese soldiers, no broken bones, no indication of war, we think maybe suicide," he said.

"We had the exhumed skeletons sampled by the U.S. Navy in Pearl Harbor (in Hawaii) and they helped identify where they are from, to assist in the repatriation efforts."

He noted bombs planted underground and unexploded have likewise been found.

"The 29 atolls that make up the Marshall Islands are home to around 70,000 people. The corals that have formed the island chain are highly vulnerable to the surrounding seas," the Daily Star said.

Global warming experts have long been cautioning the rising sea levels driven by climate change will drive to oblivion not just islands or countries but also even massive cultural landmarks.

In March, a new study in IOP Publishing's journal Environmental Research Letter said a total of 136 sites, some of them on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites, would be impacted by subsequent sea-level rises over the next 2,000 years.

These include the Statue of Liberty, Tower of London, Sydney Opera House, the leaning tower of Pisa, the archaeological sites of Pompeii in Italy, the city centres of Brugge, Naples, Riga and St. Petersburg, Amsterdam's canals, Valparaso, Chile, Ribeira Grande in Cape Verde and Mexico's Campeche, among others.

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(Photo: / )
The Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica is seen in this undated NASA image. Vast glaciers in West Antarctica seem to be locked in an irreversible thaw linked to global warming that may push up sea levels for centuries, scientists said on May 12, 2014. Six glaciers including the Thwaites Glacier, eaten away from below by a warming of sea waters around the frozen continent, were flowing fast into the Amundsen Sea, according to the report based partly on satellite radar measurements from 1992 to 2011. REUTERS/NASA/Handout via Reuters
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