An aerial view of the Maldive Islands •

An aerial view of the Maldive Islands

Today’s Image of the Day comes courtesy of NASA’s Aqua satellite and features an overhead view of the Maldive Islands in the Indian Ocean.

The Maldive Islands are coral islands that sit atop an ancient volcanic mountain range. They were formed by coral polyps that developed along volcanic mountain tops. The coral reef gradually grew upward until the volcanoes became dormant and eventually subsided, leaving behind the coral atoll. The Maldives consist of 22 of these coral atolls measuring 511 miles in length.

The Maldive islands have a tropical monsoon climate and two major seasons: a dry season in the winter and a rainy season in the summer.

Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed has reported that the Maldives are the third most endangered nation due to flooding caused by climate change.

“If carbon emissions were to stop today, the planet would not see a difference for 60 to 70 years. If carbon emissions continue at the rate they are climbing today, my country will be under water in seven years,” Nasheed told David Letterman.

In 2008, Nasheed began exploring options to purchase land in India due to the extreme threat of climate change.

“We do not want to leave the Maldives, but we also do not want to be climate refugees living in tents for decades,” Nasheed said.

The Maldive Islands have set a goal to eliminate of offset 100% of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

At the 2009 International Climate Talks, Nasheed explained, “For us swearing off fossil fuels is not only the right thing to do, it is in our economic self-interest… Pioneering countries will free themselves from the unpredictable price of foreign oil; they will capitalise on the new green economy of the future, and they will enhance their moral standing giving them greater political influence on the world stage.”

By Rory Arnold, Staff Writer

Source: NASA Aqua Satellite

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