Gobar Times
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Tidal Terror

 


Submergence

 

Indian creek


Mousini in sunderbans is the most densely populated deltaic region of the world. The 20,000 residents of tiny Mousuni Island (Sunderban) are under threat of cyclones and rising sea levels.
 
Additional climate change threats to Mousuni include tidal surges, increased soil and water salinity and sea-level rise. The southern part of the island is expected to lose more than 15 percent of its landmass by 2020 because of rising sea levels, according to WWF, India.
 
Chilka Lake in Orissa is the largest brackish water lagoon in Asia has expanded 700 feet wide is susceptible to submergence in Bay of Bengal. Breach on the sand embankment due to global warming and rising sea level has resulted in frequent high tides on the coast.

 

 
Regions on Tenterhooks:
  •  

    Seychelles

  •   Australia
  •  

    Barbados

  •   Tavalu
  •  

    Sri Lanka

  •   Kiribati

Molina, a domestic help in a Kolkata household was on leave to her home, the Sunderbans. The Aila hit meanwhile. It hacked across Bengal with a speed of 750km/hour from inside the Bay of Bengal. Sunderban National park was worst hit, inundating several areas. 25,000 people were left homeless, 5,000 displaced, a dozen tiger washed and chunks of land gnawed away. Now weeks after the search parties began their operation, Molina’s status still reads ‘missing’. Guesses made rounds that their house has been swept off. The only survivor is her brother, Gopal.

They own a plot in Bhola district too, an area that forms Bangladesh's largest island, situated near the mouth of Meghna River. This land is well cordoned off but storm surges crash into the mangrove cover, that act as embankments, and nibble off land regularly. "The collapse of embankments always threaten us. There are times we feel like moving out. But where on earth can we have the security of native land" says Gopal.

Rising sea levels threaten to eat away embankments, ripping a huge breach in dikes. Climatic changes will lead to more frequent and severe storms and surges that will cut deeper through the already fissured land, say experts.

For now, embankments like those protecting Gopal's field enclose much of Bangladesh's coast, keeping out the tides and all but the worst storm surges. But for how long?

 

 
  •  

    Palau

  •   St. Kitts
  •  

    Marshall Islands

  •   New Orleans
  •  

    Cook Islands

  •   Kolkata, Sunderbans, India
 

Global warming has an obvious spin-off effect in sea level rise. Global sea level has risen by 10-25 cm over the past 100 years. It is projected to rise higher between 28cm and 96 cm by 2090. Consequently, small island states and low lying deltas, such as those in Bangladesh, Egypt and China, could render millions homeless and batter coastlines. With a third of the world’s population inhabiting within 50 km of the coasts, the threat of land submergence is like a time bomb situation, ticking away, ominously.

Climate change will almost certainly bring about disasters of worse form. Hurricanes are of greater intensity now. Sea water continues to warm in the Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean and the Carribean sea . Researchers predict monsoon rainfall is likely to increase and fall in more intense bursts, making the annual floods broader, deeper and longer, increasing river erosion, too. "All of that combines to make a recipe for pretty horrific disaster," says Atiq Rahman, executive director of the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS) in Dhaka, whose country is one of the worst affected regions.

Cyclones breed in warm ocean areas (with at least 26 degrees Celsius water temperature and in latitude about five degrees to 25 degrees either side of the equator). Sea surface temperatures have huge influence on climate and weather. For eg, every three to seven years, swathes of the Pacific along the equator warms by two to three degrees Celsius – the hallmark El Niño. On a smaller scale, ocean temperatures influence development of tropical cyclones which draw energy from warm ocean waters to form and intensify.

The viciousness of sea level rise and the issue of submeregnce is larger and more horrific than it seems. It is not just about a few landscapes skidding under sea level. Submergence portends death. Death of of livelihood, culture, convention, civilisation, history, and the future of being. The world must act quickly, the knell is about to ring....

 

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Submergence