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Bohol Experiencing Global Warming
« on: December 11, 2007, 02:15:34 AM »
By Joe Espiritu
Columnist
Bohol Sunday Post

Last week, shoreline barangays of Bohol experienced nighttime wave lashing. Some houses were almost washed away while seawater was knee deep, approximately three feet, in some places. Maribojoc did report that on Wednesday midnight, waters flooded the port area. A 70 years old woman commented that she had never witnessed such flood tide in her entire life.

Homegrown weather observers commented that the waves were a result of a storm surge. This was denied by PAGASA scientists. Some also said that the waves were a result of offshore winds and high tide. This explanation was more plausible. A strong southwest monsoon was blowing at that time blowing the waters inland. Most of the people are not aware that the rise of seawater is due to global warming.

Ever since civilization has attained the Industrial Age, developed countries had been pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In the early stages, vegetation was able the scrub the air free of excess CO2. Ordinarily, the heat from the rays of the sun is reflected back to the outer space, thus cooling the earth before it will again absorb the heat of the next day. However, as forest cover was steadily depleted and more and more factories spewed more and more CO2, the atmospheric layer of the CO2 trapped the heat absorbed by the earth from the sun. This is called the greenhouse effect.

There may be other causes of the rise in sea level and movement. One is regional temperature. Movement often result as water densities differ, water always flow from high to low-density areas causing currents. Density dependent currents are seasonal. In the meantime, atmospheric conditions exert some force on the water movement. The Wednesday night flood was caused by high tide and strong southwest winds. The ocean sloshing also causes strong tidal movements. While Mediterranean Sea does not have any tides, the Bay of Fundy in Canada and the Gulf of Carpentaria in Australia has the highest tides in the world. On the average, the overall volume of the sea remains constant.

The rising of the global temperature caused the north and south icecaps to melt.

The waters released swelled the volume of seawater. Australian oceanographers observed that form 1993 to 2003, seawater rose at the rate of 2.5 centimeters or one inch per annum. In ten years, the sea lever rose 25 centimeters or 10 inches.

Since the rise is gradual, this is scarcely noticed. However, those living by the shore find out that the sea is approaching their doorsteps. The shorelines on which the fishermen had beached their boats had disappeared.

As early as 2005 the low-lying islands of Kiribati, a group of islands in the Micronesia is about to go underwater. Alarmed by the developments nations met as early as the middle 1900s and established the so-called Kyoto Protocol. From 1997 up to 2012, those nations agreed to reduce carbon dioxide emission by 5%.

Only the United States refused to sign the agreement. This time, experts say that the next two decades will be crucial. If the rise of global temperature is not stopped, there will be island nations, which will be under water. Their citizens would lose their nationalities.

The islets surrounding the province of Bohol may be in danger of going under. Most of the fisherfolks will move inland. Arable land will have to be converted into living space. Farm production would decline. The sad part is that we will feel the crisis slowly. Alarm will not set in until disaster at us staring at us on the face. Besides, we cannot exert our puny influence on industrialized nations to lessen their CO2 emission. Most of them are living in continents. As Charlie Brown in the Peanuts comic strip will say; "A hundred years from now, who will know the difference?" Not us, but those who will come after us.


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