Climate Change Threatens the Javanese Way of Life

 

by Blaine Williams

In the face of climate change and rising sea levels, atolls––rings of islands formed by coral reefs––are some of the most vulnerable human-inhabited regions. In the atoll of Ontong Java, the world’s largest atoll, climate change has begun to affect the quality of life for the locals, and will create more hardship in the years to come. The highest point of the Ontong Java atoll is 10 feet above sea level, and with sea levels rising at a rate of a few millimeters a year, the islands are losing more and more land to the ocean. Faced with issues such as irregular weather patterns and imminent land loss, a key struggle for the inhabitants of Ontong Java is adapting to these changes and attempting to take them in stride. Continue reading

How a Crucial Tropical Forest is Responding to Climate Change

by Pushan Hinduja

How are Mangrove forests throughout tropical areas of the world responding to the rising sea levels attributed to climate change? Daniel M. Alongi, of the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences, analyzed historic responses to changes in sea levels in Mangrove forests as well as current data to determine how well these forests are reacting to the climate crisis (Alongi 2015). Mangrove forests tend to occupy the border between land and sea in low latitudes, making them especially susceptible to the effects of climate change. Fortunately for mangroves, they have an outstanding ecological stability, in part due to their large subterranean storage capabilities. However, despite responses to develop resilience to environmental disturbances, mangrove forests are still suffering. In terms of human impact, mangrove forests are being deforested at a rate of 1-2% per year, leaving only about a century before these forests disappear entirely. Mangroves are crucial to the environment; they serve as breeding and nursery grounds for fish, birds and other animals, prevent erosion and damage from natural disasters like tsunamis, serve as a renewable source of wood for fuel, and are key components in filtering ocean contaminants. Continue reading

The Effects of Climate Change on California Tourism

by Owen Dubeck

The chapter “Tourism and Recreation,” from Climate Change in California, explains the economic impact climate change will have on California tourism. The $96 Billion industry is divided into three parts, beaches, winter recreation, and outdoor recreation. While all three sectors will see economic losses from climate change, the article also discusses the less talked-about advantages. With rapidly melting glaciers causing rising sea levels, California’s coastlines are susceptible to the largest economic consequences. Scientists predict that rising water levels will reduce beach widths in Southern California by 62 feet. Smaller beaches mean lower attendance, which will hurt local economies. Temporary efforts to cover up the consequences of climate change include moving in more sand via dump trucks. Rising sea levels will cause Huntington Beach to invest $16 million in beach nourishment. However, this sea level rise would not affect Laguna Beach adversely. Instead, they would actually save money. Continue reading

Climate Change Adaption in California

by Brina Jablonski

Climate change has always affected California but even more so now in today’s current climate conditions. Problems revolving around rising sea levels, frequent heat waves, floods, wildfires, droughts, shrinking snow packs, growing water demand, changes in precipitation, hotter conditions, an increasing number of threatened or endangered animal species, and an extreme growth in human population are forcing the government of California to adapt and make plans for the future in order to minimize later damage for the Golden State. Assembly Bill 32 (the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act) has already improved California’s energy, transportation, construction, agricultural, and natural resource sectors. As California faces these issues, the state also sets the framework for potential national and even international action. Davis and Chornesky (2014) primarily address how California is responding to rising sea levels, changes in water supply, flood risks, and weakened ecosystem resilience. Continue reading