Wednesday, June 28, 2017

And a quick word on climate change

"Nearly nine in 10 people say they are ready to make changes to their standard of living if it would prevent future climate catastrophe, a survey on global threats found Wednesday.
The survey of more than 8,000 people in eight countries – the United States, China, India, Britain, Australia, Brazil, South Africa and Germany – found that 84 percent of people now consider climate change a "global catastrophic risk"."
From the Guardian:
"New study confirms the oceans are warming rapidly"

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Guyana's vulnerability to sea-level rise

This post gives a brief overview of Guyana's vulnerability to sea-level rise.

According to Wikipedia:
The chief majority (about 90%) of Guyana's 0.74 million population lives along a narrow coastal strip in which ranges from a width of 16 to 64 kilometres (10 to 40 mi) inland and which makes up approximately only 10% of the nation's total land area.
Drainage throughout most of Guyana is poor and river flow sluggish because the average gradient of the main rivers is only one meter every five kilometers. ... Georgetown is below sea level and must depend on dikes for protection from the Demerara River and the Atlantic Ocean.
And from Climate Hot Map:
Guyana's capital city of Georgetown relies on seawalls for protection. When flooding occurs after large waves top the seawalls or heavy rains, sluice gates open for drainage. However, these gravity-fed gates can do so only when the tide is low enough.
The coastal plain is home to almost all the country's agricultural production — critical for both food and export. The main crops are sugar and rice.
Sea level along the Guyana coastline is rising faster than the global average which will exacerbate future increases from further global warming.
The sea wall

According to Wikipedia:
The Sea Wall is a 280-mile seawall that runs along much of Guyana's coastline, and all of the coastline in the capital city of Georgetown. It protects settlements in the coastal areas of Guyana, most of which are below sea level at high tide.

Currently over topping and minor breaches at high tide are not uncommon and cause local flooding. Breaches are repaired usually in a few days. Much of the costs of building and maintaining the sea walls have been met by overseas aid. The system of dykes, drainage canals and sluice gates was begun by the Dutch in colonial times to protect sugar plantations and not as effective as it used to be. Away from Georgetown the seawall is often earth and stone.

The 2005 flood

In 2005 there was a severe flood due to intense rain which caused from two to five feet of flooding in Georgetown and large parts of the coast for weeks. According to a PAHO report "Almost 200.000 people in Guyana were affected by the floods that hit Guyana" - which is more than a quarter of the population.

The future

And from Climate Hot Map again:
Without improved sea and river defenses and drainage systems, the coastal plains of coastal Guyana face serious flooding—if not complete inundation—owing to higher sea levels possible under worst case scenarios. Such flooding would devastate most of the population and have consequences for a large percentage of the gross domestic product.
It is difficult to imagine increasing the height of the sea wall more than a few centimeters. It would probably require complete rebuilding and the cost would be very, very high.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Plastic roads

Several countries such as India, Netherlands and Scotland, are experimenting with using recycled plastic to construct roads. One such approach is described in this BBC report.

Guyana - Earth Day 2017

A national programme gave an opportunity for President Granger to emphasis the government position on environmental issues. According to an article in the Guyana Chronicle:

“We feel that the Green State is an extension of our moral commitment to ensuring that mother earth is protected and preserved. The Green State will ensure the promotion of harmony between humanity and between humanity and the habitat of our rich fauna. Guyana contributes to ensuring that the shield’s rich flora and fauna that its abundant water supplies and diverse ecosystems remain intact for the benefit of all humanity, and of course present and future generations.”

“Guyana’s forestry store nature’s delicate balance,” President Granger told the gathering, and said the country’s forests which cover 85% of its lands provide essential environmental services.

“Guyana is a net carbon sink… Guyana’s intact forests also reduce land degradation, enhance soil nutrients and promote water retention. Guyana therefore is a protector of mother earth, because these vital environmental services are provided by our forests,” President Granger further said.

It is expected that the government will soon release its plans for moving away from almost complete dependence on fossil fuels for energy and transportation.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

New Survey Report on the South Rupununi Savannahs

The WWF has released an important new survey report on the savannahs. According to the web site:
"The publication represents the most recent (and potentially, the first) broad-based documentation of floral and faunal diversity in Guyana’s southern Rupununi region, is based on work undertaken in the Kusad Mountain and Parabara areas. "

It can be downloaded from the same web page shown above. It is full of amazing pictures, maps and introduces the biodiversity idea using local examples. Just what is needed in schools.