Sunday, September 26, 2010

'Beach erosion in Goa could be linked to climate change'

The Times of India

PANAJI: The extent of erosion on the state's beaches may be a result of wind speeds driving sea waves to hit the coast harder than in the past, National Centre Antartic and Ocean Research (NCAOR), scientist, Alvarino Luis said. He was speaking at a workshop on 'National green corps: Eco clubs, the gateway to green campus' organized by the Goa state council for science and technology, ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) and education department in association with CPR environmental education centre, Chennai, at the state museum in Panaji on Friday.
The workshop part of the recent International Year of Biodiversity and World Ozone Day. On climate change, Luis said the earth's average surface temperature has risen by 0.76 degrees Celsius since 1850. Carbon emissions which effect climatic changes, form a blanket in the upper atmosphere of the earth and prevent heat from escaping. "In Goa, summers have been warmer during the last few years and the minimum temperatures are also on the higher side," Luis said. Similarly, the sea-level rise may inundate more areas, but may not cause so much erosion, though it is a natural phenomenon during the monsoon, he said.
Explaining, he said a sea-level rise of 2 mm per year is negligible but it is likely that increase in wind energy may be the cause of beaches being hit by waves of more amplitude. Stating that more data is needed to explore this aspect, he said, "We have to measure the wind speeds at different locations." Rainer Lohmann, a scientist at the School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, USA, said heat waves and droughts have increased due to climate change, leading to disaster-like wildfires and crop failures. Baban Ingole, an NIO fisheries scientist, said the impact of climate change will be adverse on fisheries. "Jellyfish are now seen more often on beaches. They can tolerate higher temperatures and they feed on abundantly available food such as zooplankton and fish larvae, which are also food for bigger fishes," said Ingole.
He added that the invasive jellyfish species can impact the food chain. He also said that the population of sardines is increasing because they frequent waters with warmer temperatures and find a suitable habitat off the Konkan coast. Meanwhile, Maruthabu Sudhkar, scientist and advisor to MoEF, said 527 eco clubs have been instrumental in carrying out eco activities in the state and an energy audit programme has been undertaken by schools towards mitigating climate change. Resource materials including an action plan to offset carbon emissions and a pledge for school children were released as part of the workshop.
It also sought to sensitize eco teachers in schools, higher-secondaries and colleges to form eco clubs and to build a cadre of young green minds. National green corps (Goa) nodal officer and chief scientist, science and technology department, Goa, Joseph Rauto de Souza, Deepak Parab, George F and Bolmax Pereira also spoke at the workshop.