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Effects of Global Warming in the Caribbean By City Tech Blogger Pedro Torres

Global warming has come to be a contemporary hazard affecting almost every nation on a global scale. It has been observed that the effects of this phenomenon have heightened in the Caribbean nations. Notable impacts of global warming can be pinpointed by looking at the changes in climatic patterns in four Caribbean nations which include Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. Global warming has contributed to the rising sea levels, coastal erosion, and catastrophic storms, and has negatively affecting the tourism sector as well raising of the threat of coastal submergence.

One of the effects of global warming that have been seen to impact the Caribbean nations is a rise in sea level and increased coastal erosion rate (Deen, 2017). Due to the melting of glaciers and ice on other parts of the world, as a result of the increasing temperatures, sea levels are consequently rising across all the coastal lines of the planet (Jones, 2013). It is anticipated that the Caribbean countries listed above are the ones that will come first in attesting the effects of the rising sea levels since most of them are small islands (Deen, 2017). The rising sea water levels are therefore anticipated to cause more erosion of the coastal beaches which is already happening. Additionally, since the coastal soil is soft, coastal erosion in the shores of Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic have increased (Deen, 2017).  The rise in sea levels is expected to rise by about 1 meter by the end of the 21st century (Jones, 2013). As such, since most dwellers of the four Caribbean nations sit on a ground that is less than 3 meters above sea level, submergence of their homes is expected to occur as sea levels are predicted to rise by more than three feet by the year 2100 due to melting glaciers in the polar regions (Jones, 2013).

The other consequence that studies have linked to global warming in the Caribbean and most especially to Jamaica, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic is an increase in the frequency and power of destructive storms. This phenomenon brought about catastrophic tropical cyclones caused by rising surface temperatures which later translates to destructive storms (Fawkes, 2017). Notably, hurricanes and strong winds are as a result of high temperatures around the sea surfaces. The higher the temperatures gets, the more ferocious the storms become and the higher the probability of those storms becoming hurricanes (Fawkes, 2017). Therefore, this implies that the Caribbean countries listed above are more likely to experience frequent hurricanes as an effect of global warming, such as the case of hurricane Maria which adversely affected Puerto Rico (Fawkes, 2017). The rising temperatures of the sea waters are also killing the coral reefs affecting fish breeding sites (Lindell, 2018). This has adversely affected the aquatic life around this region with some species going extinct as others migrate to cooler waters.

The impacts of global warming mentioned above have both economic and social effects (Moore, 2010). The rising sea levels, for instance, is expected to hurt the tourism industry mainly in Jamaica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. According to Hutchinson-Jafar (2011), the rising ocean levels will, therefore, see the displacement of a majority of coastal hotels and beaches which are the major facilities supporting tourism in the area consequently affecting the general economy. Since the Caribbean is made up of small nations, they largely depend on tourism as a source of income. According to Hutchinson-Jafar (2011), climate change is estimated to lower the annual GDP of the Caribbean islands by 11.3 percent. Climate change has also resulted changes in features that attract tourists located in these islands. For instance, the season for tourists, which is mainly from December and early months of the following year, are becoming drier and hotter (Hutchinson-Jafar, 2011).

Another effect of global warming is the displacement of the coastal population due to rising water levels and coastal erosion. As mentioned earlier, people living not more than three meters above the sea level are susceptible to displacement by the year 2100 (Jones, 2013). This incredibly affects the Caribbean because it has countries like Jamaica, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic where almost half of each country’s population live below practical sea level. The cities around the coastal regions might have to be permanently lost, and this would bring out a social problem where people will be displaced from their native homes permanently (Saint, 2017). This will not only be an issue to the four Caribbean countries, but the entire Caribbean region and the world at large since the demographic patterns will have to rearrange (Saint, 2017).

In conclusion, it is seen that global warming affects different countries of the world negatively causing a rise in sea levels and coastal erosion, the formation of catastrophic storms, and displacing people as well as adversely affecting the tourism sector. Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica are vulnerable no the effects of global warming they are all small islands.

 

 

References

Deen, T. (2017). Are Rising Seas, Coastal Erosion and Powerful Storms a Wave of the Future for Small Island Nations? | Caribbean360. Retrieved from http://www.caribbean360.com/news/rising-seas-coastal-erosion-powerful-storms-wave-future-small-island-nations

Fawkes, C. (2017). Reality Check: Are hurricanes getting worse? Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42251921

Hutchinson-Jafar, L. (2011). Caribbean islands fear climate change threat to tourism. Retrieved from http://news.trust.org//item/?map=caribbean-islands-fear-climate-change-threat-to-tourism

Jones, N. (2013). How Fast and How Far Will Sea Levels Rise? Retrieved from https://e360.yale.edu/features/rising_waters_how_fast_and_how_far_will_sea_levels_rise

Lindell, N. (2018). How Does Global Warming Affect Marine Life? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/global-warming-effect-on-marine-populations-1434916

Moore, W. (2010). The impact of climate change on Caribbean tourism demand. Current Issues in Tourism, 13(5), 495-505. doi: 10.1080/13683500903576045

Saint, A. (2017). Climate is changing the coastlines. Retrieved from https://www.eniday.com/en/education_en/climate-changing-coastlines/

 

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