Pacific Island states are facing increased risk of natural disaster because of soaring heat, rising sea levels and changing rainfall patterns, states a report.
A new report by Australian scientists on the impact of climate change in the Pacific islands claims that natural disasters will become increasingly common and more intense.
The report forecasts more natural disasters from events such as landslides as a result of heavy downpours, damage to coral reef ecosystems from changes to ocean chemistry as the water sucks up more carbon, and accelerating sea level rise.
Another area of concern was that warmer, less salty surface waters would inhibit patterns of ocean mixing, the churn that brings a supply of deep-water nutrients up to feed creatures closer to the surface, with important consequences for biological productivity and fishing.
Against these bleaker projections is the prediction that there are likely to be fewer tropical cyclones in the Pacific, though many simulations indicate they may be more intense when they strike, the Age reports.
According to the report, all Pacific island stations have warmed over the past 50 years, most in the range of 0.4 to 1 degree. Other local data found that sea-level rise was larger in the west than the east, and that surface waters showed temperature rises and a reduction in seawater pH, making it more acid.
The report pointed out that people in the Pacific Islands and East Timor were already experiencing changes that would reverberate through agriculture, tourism and ecosystems.
But according to Kevin Hennessy, one of the editors of the report, 'the changes have different implications in different countries, depending on exposure and adaptive capacity'.