HAVANA._Cuba is a nation highly vulnerable to the effects of human-induced climate change and risks facing hotter and more extreme climatic conditions due to its geographical location and its large number of coastal settlements.
Doctor Marcelino Hernández of the Cuban Oceanic Institute told the Prensa Latina news agency that in Cuba, just like in the rest of the world, sea-level related research is ever more closely tied to social sciences and other fields of study.
As it is an island state, this Caribbean nation is at the mercy of present climatic changes. Rising sea levels will cause the coastal shoreline to recede, the low areas of the island to reduce, and will accentuate the intrusiveness of the coastal waters, leading to a reduction in the availability of fresh water.
Having processed tidal graph recordings, Cuban scientists now estimate that between 1966 and 2009 sea levels around the entire island rose by an average of 1.43mm every year.
Researchers who are calculating rising sea level anomalies for the year 2050, have warned of floods in lower lying areas of the country such as the north western zone, although south central and south eastern areas are also at risk.
According to the Cuban Oceanic Institute’s data, global warming has caused the Caribbean island’s sea levels to rise by 10cm over the past five decades.
In light of the aforementioned research, Cuba expects a general coastal sea level rise of 27cm by 2050 and the loss of 2.31 percent of coastal shore line due to the adverse effects of climate change.
Given that rising sea levels represent one of the greatest threats to its coastal zones, Cuba is conducting nationwide risk and vulnerability research and is implementing programs, plans, as well as sectional and systemic projects.
The predictions for the years 2050 and 2100, such as the vulnerability of the Cuban coastal zones to rising sea levels, ,implicate a gradual alteration to the physio-geographic, hydro-graphic and hydro-climatic characteristics of the island’s coastlines.
This will be reflected in considerable losses of Cuban low lying areas and the Zapata Swamp, along with the disappearance of numerous keys.
Other effects will be rising and fluctuating tides as well as non-periodic sea level rises which increase during extreme meteorological events, and coastal recessions of up to 7 kilometers.
Experts believe that, combined with lower rainfall, this marine coastal scenario will exacerbate the potential fresh water deficit resulting from coastal waters spoiled by intruding seas.
According to the book “Climate Change and Corresponding Measures in Cuba” -- a work which 28 authors from national scientific institutions collaborated on – marine tides, waves and currents could, in the context of rising sea levels, have a significant impact on low lying or poorly prepared coastal zones.
The Cuban archipelago has a surface area of 109,884 square kilometers and an irregular 5,746 km long coastline with a variety of formations ranging from sheer cliffs and fine sandy beaches to low shorelines, swamplands, inlets, deltas, and bays.
Research signals that coastal regions run the risk of submerging and affecting 122 Cuban coastal communities with thousands of constructions built on the forefront of the shore.
Dr. Hernández cautions that Cuba will suffer a gradual submersion of land zones combined with an ongoing increase of monthly and annual sea level anomalies as well as marine incursions into rivers and fresh water sources.
Similarly, the island will experience a gradual rise in the magnitude of coastal flooding and therefore will require more levels of investments to implement necessary measures.Share on FB Share on TT