Monday, March 29, 2010

Report reveals alarming climate change prospects for Bermuda

The Royal Gazette (Bermuda): Climate change is as much a threat to Bermuda as to the rest of the world and a report recently tabled in the House of Assembly details the devastation the Island could experience. Here Amanda Dale looks at what 'The Impact of Climate Change on Bermuda' says.

It's a report to set alarm bells ringing a significant loss of beaches and coastline, flooding inundating hundreds of acres of land, the prospect of food shortages, an impact on tourism and threats to the Island's airport and power supplies.

…The report includes an analysis of its effects on key elements of life, including: tourism; health; energy; freshwater resources; agriculture; fisheries; architectural heritage; coastline; plants, trees and wildlife; and coral reefs. And it shows that:
  • With a sea level rise of 0.59 metres the upper limit predicted by the International Panel for Climate Change for this century at least 31 percent of Bermuda's beach and dune habitats would be inundated and as much as 186 hectares of land could be inundated during high tides
  • If the ice sheets melt, the rise in sea levels could be as high as two metres which would "drown" L.F. Wade International Airport and flood up to 2,000 residential and commercial buildings. The main power plant at Belco would also be swamped.
  • Climate change will also trigger more intense hurricanes, droughts and flash floods, as rising temperatures make global rainfall patterns increasingly erratic. Annual rainfall is expected to increase by seven percent, with less frequent but heavier downpours.
  • …There will be a socio-economic impact of climate change including a loss of income and productivity, population displacement and social disruption, diminished quality of life, pyschological stress and increased costs to healthcare.
  • Tourism will be affected by possible greenhouse gas reduction policies. Aircraft and cruise ships are significant contributors to greenhouse gases

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