Friday, September 29, 2006

Water rising in the Sunderbans

A friend of mine was visiting Kolkata recently - his in-laws are from there. It brings it closer to home when you know of connections. The delta area (looking at yahoo maps) reminds me of the New Orleans/Lousiana delta area....

The Sundarbans

Where the land meets the sea at the southern tip of West Bengal lies the Indian Sundarbans, a stretch of impenetrable mangrove forest of great size and bio-diversity.... Sundarban is a vast area covering 4262 square kms in India alone, with a larger portion in Bangladesh....

The Sundarbans are a part of the world's largest delta formed by the rivers Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna. Situated on the lower end of the Gangetic West Bengal, 21°13’-22°40’ North and longitude 88°05’-89°06’ East, it is also the world’s largest estuarine forest....Dense mangrove forests occupy 56 islands and the balance is under saline water which flows through numerous tidal channels and creeks....


From New Delhi

Sunderbans suffers global warming impact

Climate change is taking its toll on the Sunderbans tiger reserve with rising sea level and erosion threatening its fragile ecosystem.

The rise of seawater in the Sunderbans, a world heritage site, is about 3.14 mm annually as against the global average of 2.2 mm.

As one moves eastwards towards Bangladesh the rise is even higher at almost 5mm in the centre and at Khulna in Bangladesh the rise annually is 10mm.

Expers say global warming raises atmospheric temperatures, which in turn, warms the world's oceans. Heat makes water molecules expand-called thermal expansion-causing sea levels to rise.

Over the past three decades, the world's oceans have warmed by .3 degrees Celsius on average.

The inter-governmental panel on climate change expects sea levels to rise by almost a metre by 2100.

...South Asia has been identified as one of the most vulnerable areas to sea level rise.

The Sunderbans are at the greatest risk as not only is it home to some of the world's most endangered species including the tiger, it is also home to 4.5 million people.

In the last two decades 6000 families have been left homeless by the rising sea, which has swallowed low lying islands....

This precious eco system is Kolkata's last barrier against the sea its loss will lead to disaster.

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