SUBJECT :Climate Change 

Change in characteristics of Arabian Sea, say experts

The Arabian Sea has begun giving indications of a change in its chemistry owing to climate change. The Kerala coast has already experienced it in the form of strong sea erosion that has hit all the nine littoral districts irrespective of the season. Earlier, sea erosion was a seasonal activity seen only in some locations in two or three districts.

Environmentalists say while traditional sea erosion can be contained by building sea walls, such human intervention is now no solution. Global warming has pushed up sea level. They fear a rise in the velocity of coastal currents in the Arabian Sea.

Talking to The Hindu, environment activist V.K. Madhusoodhanan said data with the National Institute of Oceanography showed that the highest velocity of the Arabian Sea’s coastal current along Kerala was 53 cm a second. The data was based on studies done in the past. But, now the characteristics of the sea along the Kerala coast give strong indications that the coastal current velocity may have gone up.

Even a slight increase in velocity spells trouble for the coastal areas. Mr. Madhusoodhanan said climate change was triggering a sea change in the Arabian Sea. This has become evident from the fact that while there is sea erosion, the natural accretion process to balance erosion is not witnessed along the Kerala coast anymore. He attributed this to climate change as well as human interventions in the sea through unscientific civil construction.

He said in the past, accretion used to take place during January to March as part of a process when oceanic currents through the Arabian Sea moved north from September/October to February/March. Erosion takes place as part of a process when oceanic currents move south between February/March and September/October.

Surface temperature

He said apart from the rise in sea level, increase in surface temperature due to global warming caused sea erosion since this rise expands the water. Mr. Madhusoodhanan said some relief can be expected if the government made strong interventions by coming out with an “integrated coastal zone management plan” as required under the Coastal Zone Notification 2011.

Otherwise, the sea would soon be at our doorstep and could even lead to the creation of ‘environmental refugees.’


Source: July 7, 2015, The Hindu