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Collapse Headlines – 15 July 2010

Posted by feww on July 15, 2010

Indian Ocean sea level rise threatens millions in coastal areas

Millions are at risk along low-lying coastlines in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Sri Lanka as sea levels continue rising unevenly in the Indian Ocean: Study


Original Caption:  The Indian Ocean/West Pacific Warm Pool extends almost half way around the globe, stretching along the equator south of India, through the waters off Sumatra, Java, Borneo, and New Guinea, and into the central Pacific Ocean. The waters of the Warm Pool are warmer than any other open ocean on Earth. Because these waters are hot enough to drive heat and moisture high into the atmosphere, the warm pool has a large effect on the climate of surrounding lands. In fact, the slow fluctuations of size and intensity of the warm pool may be linked with the intensity of El Niño.

UCAR Caption: A new study in Nature Geoscience finds that Indian Ocean sea levels are rising unevenly and threatening residents in some densely populated coastal areas, particularly those along the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea, Sri Lanka, Sumatra, and Java. This image shows the key player in the process, the Indo-Pacific warm pool, in bright orange. This enormous, bathtub-shaped area spans a region of the tropical oceans from the east coast of Africa to the International Date Line in the Pacific. The warm pool has heated by about 1 degree Fahrenheit, or 0.5 degrees Celsius, in the past 50 years, primarily because of human-generated emissions of greenhouses gases. (Image source:  NASA Earth Observatory.)

“Our new results show that human-caused atmosphericoceanic circulation changes over the Indian Ocean, which have not been studied previously, contribute to the regional variability of sea-level change,” say the researchers.

“Sea level rise is particularly high along the coastlines of the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea, Sri Lanka, Sumatra, and Java, the authors found. The rise—which may aggravate monsoon flooding in Bangladesh and India—could have future impacts on both regional and global climate.”

“The key player in the process is the Indo-Pacific warm pool, an enormous, bathtub-shaped area spanning a region of the tropical oceans from the east coast of Africa to the International Date Line in the Pacific. The warm pool has heated by about 1 degree Fahrenheit, or 0.5 degrees Celsius, in the past 50 years, primarily because of human-generated emissions of greenhouses gases.”

“Our results from this study imply that if future anthropogenic warming effects in the Indo-Pacific warm pool dominate natural variability, mid-ocean islands such as the Mascarenhas Archipelago, coasts of Indonesia, Sumatra, and the north Indian Ocean may experience significantly more sea level rise than the global average,” says the lead author.

World’s mangroves retreating at alarming rate: study

The world’s mangroves are being destroyed about 4 times faster than other forests, a new study reports.

“The ‘World Mangrove Atlas’ report noted that mangrove forests provide huge economic services, acting as nurseries for sea fish, storing carbon and providing robust defenses against floods and cyclones at a time of rising sea levels.” A report said.


A bird is seen in a swamp at Hithadoo at Addu Atoll December 9, 2009.  Credit: Reuters/Reinhard Krause. Image may be subject to copyright.

“The greatest drivers for mangrove forest loss are direct conversion to aquaculture, agriculture and urban land uses. Coastal zones are often densely populated and pressure for land intense. Where mangroves remain, they have often been degraded through overharvesting,” the study says.

Pollution Speeds Up Snow Melt in Europe, Asia

Springtime warming and snow melt are  occurring at a faster rate in Eurasia than in North America since 1980, a report said.

“Climate scientist Mark Flanner, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan and a recent Advanced Study Program graduate at the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Atmospheric Research, led a study that investigated these changes, ultimately finding that warming rates and snow cover decline in Eurasia may be twice what they are in North America.”

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