Hello Warming, Goodbye Mangroves?
How climate change is altering the mangrove ecosystem
As average temperature of the globe continues to rise, global climate change is becoming ever more apparent. This increase in temperature is mostly attributed to the human-caused increase in greenhouse gas emissions. Gases like Co2 and Methane are increasing the greenhouse effect on the Earth. The greenhouse effect acts like a blanket. When gasses in the atmosphere trap the Sun's energy close to the surface of the Earth (rather than having the energy reflected out), this causes an increase in temperature. Therefore, more greenhouse gases have a larger warming effect.
The Earth's average temperature has risen an average of 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the last century. This seemingly small rise in temperature is causing monumental changes to both weather and climate, a strong contrast to our normally stable climate. Severe droughts and floorings, longer and more severe droughts are occurring because climate change has disturbed weather patterns. There has also been changed in ocean salinity, reduction in the ice caps, and rising sea levels. As the climate continues to change, its impact on wildlife is becoming ever more apparent.
Focus: Mangrove Forests
Rising Sea Levels
Floods and large wave heights are increasing common
Change in Ocean Salinity
Effects marine and coastal species
Weather patterns and wildlife ranges are changing
A Vital Ecosystem
Climate change is one of the biggest threats to Mangrove forests, and ironically, Mangrove forests are many island nations best hope to combat the horrifying effects of rising sea levels due to climate change. When seas levels rise, Mangrove forests are slowly swept out to sea. A UNEP study shows that up to 13 per cent of the Pacific region's mangroves could disappear as sea levels rise because the forests' natural response — to retreat further inland — is blocked by natural features and man-made obstructions, such as sea walls and settlements (ScidevNet). As sea levels rise and ocean salinity changes, the threats to Mangrove forests are growing. If Mangrove forest continue to diminish, their absence will have huge effects on tropical island nations, not only economically, but also environmentally. The destruction of Mangrove forests will alsoexacerbating the effects of global climate change on that area.