A new book on the history of New Zealand has inadvertently stirred the climate change debate by revealing a near zero sea level increase over the past century.
The book, The Great Divide, includes a 100 year old map of Cloudy Bay lagoons in New Zealand, drafted back in 1912 to show the location of 20 kilometres of canals dug with wooden spades by ancient Maori.
However, when the 1912 map is shown alongside a satellite image of the same location from Google Earth, it reveals not only the startling accuracy of the original map (drafted at a time when aerial photography did not exist) but also a stunning lack of Pacific Ocean encroachment on the narrow shoal linking the lagoons to the sea.
The shoal is comprised of rock and pebbles, making it an ideal weathervane for sea level increase as it’s less prone to erosion than shifting sands.
Even the narrowest and lowest part of the bar, marked with a black squiggle on the 1912 map, remains the same in 2012.
The Great Divide goes on sale this week, and among its revelations is confirmation that a massive comet-strike into the ocean off New Zealand’s southern coast caused a 220 metre high tsunami that may have been responsible for erasing evidence of human habitation in early New Zealand.