As sea levels continue to rise, coastal regions and island nations have to come up with smart solutions to prevent themselves from flooding and sinking altogether.
For instance, the Maldives have been working with MIT to develop a wild idea called “Growing Islands” that aims to create a system of underwater sand structures that can help protect the islands from the impacts of climate change. The project makes use of ramps that are partially submerged off the coast of an island. As water passes over the ramps it creates turbulence and drags sand over the ramp where it’s deposited in the space between the structure and the beach. Over time, the sand deposit will grow into a sand bar that helps rebuild the beach and buffer the land from bad weather—creating a natural defense against rising sea levels.
The first structure was submerged last February off the coast of a Maldivian island, where scientists will observe and collect data on its sand accumulation. Another field test will take place later this year.