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Record Breaking Rainfall & Sea Level Rise

Tuvalu, South Pacific - Jan 27-Feb 05, 2015
As part of filming season four of the Angry Planet TV series, we visited the tiny South Pacific island nation of Tuvalu, which is so low-lying that the sea level rise is a real threat to the actual existence of the nation.
 
The highest point is only a few meters above sea level and the country is already having problems with food security due to sea water intrusion in to the fresh water supply. They also have been losing coastline due to erosion. To make matters worse, during the annual King Tides, most of the island floods se water.
 
AND... The day we arrived, the island received a record-breaking rainfall of 347mm (13.6 inches) in 24 hours.
 
We spent about a week on the island, filming the flooding and talking to local residents, climate change advocates, the meteorology bureau and government officials and one thing is very clear. The people of Tuvalu are very afraid of having to abandon their home if sea levels continue to rise as climatologists predict.

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Strong waves bash me as the tide rises. The cement-filled barrels are a futile attempt to hold the sea back. Note the flying crab!
The Angry Planet team, filming along the airport runway. Tuvalu received a record-breaking rainfall of 347mm (13.6 inches) in 24 hours this day.
A child sits in floodwaters o the Funafuti airport runway. The airstrip is a common place for people to gather.

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A boy attempts to shield himself from the torrential downpour.
A young girl in the floodwaters.
A boy grabs for a piece of wood in the flood. Many of the kids were “surfing” in the floodwaters using improvised surfboards made from plywood.

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A home at the edge of the flooding.
Tuvalu shoreline selfie.
Here I am, standing on the tidal barriers as the tide rises. Some of them, already brought down by past storms & King Tides.

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The coral-strewn southern end of the island.
Homes located right beside “borrow pits.” These were dug during World War 2 to gather material to build the runway. The tide now seeps through the porous rock and the water levels rise and fall with the tide.
Kids, fishing in rough waters in the Tuvalu lagoon.

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Here I am, soaking wet in yet another downpour… Again.
Remnants of a shipwreck in the lagoon.
Shipwreck and cargo ships in Tuvalu lagoon.

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Palm trees and Tuvalu shoreline.
Tuvalu shoreline.
Kids playing volleyball on the airport runway in the rain.

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Tuvalu Map
The narrowest part of Funafuti. A stones throw from one side to the other.
Map of Tuvalu's location.

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