What Rising Sea Levels Mean For Rapa Nui

How climate change is affecting the island

Rapa Nui increased water levelsCyArk

Rising Sea Levels

Within the past 100 years, sea level in the Pacific has risen several mm per year. One of the dominant effects of climate change in the ocean surrounding Rapa Nui is an increase in swells in the sea. 

Rapa Nui increased wave actionCyArk

Coastal Erosion

The swells cause greater wave heights which erode the coast of the island by undercutting, eating away at the rocks and sediments. 

Rapa Nui DegradationCyArk

Cliff Degradation

As the rocks fall into the ocean, the waves wash away part of the shore, including archaeological remains.

Panoramic View of the Crematorio in Rapa Nui (2019-01) by CyArkCyArk

Global sea level rise, coupled with increased storminess, increases chances of inundation by the sea, which means several of the most iconic sites are at risk of being destroyed.

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Find out more about ICOMOS' efforts to increase engagement of cultural heritage in climate action here.

Credits: Story

Professor Jane Downes, ICOMOS Working Group on Cultural Heritage and Climate Change, and Archaeology Institute Director, University of the Highlands and Islands UK.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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