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The Effects of Global Warming on the Caribbean Islands by City Tech Blogger Garry Jeune

Global warming is the raise of the Earth’s surface temperature as a result of human activities which require fossil fuel combustion and change land use pattern. This leads to increased concentrations of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. Global warming is the main challenge of the Caribbean. This region is composed of an archipelago of two dozen islands nations located between North as well as South America with 40 million people scattered across islands. The stakes are high for the Caribbean and the rest of the world. Nowadays, Caribbean region is facing rising sea level, increased temperature, excessive drought which means longer dry season, and an increasing frequency of the most intense storms. The damage caused by hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico in 2017 provided tragic evidence of these risks (2,975 people died & $94 billion in damage).

Several factors have shown the effects of global warming in this region, such as: coastal flooding, erosion, human settlements, frequent inundation, etc… The Caribbean economy is mostly based on tourism, which means beautiful beaches and wonderful landscape are its principal assets. Hurricanes is one of the leading causes that usually affect these assets on a yearly basis. It should also be mentioned that stronger hurricane means landscape and forest devastation. Globally, if human beings don’t stop their non-sense behavior, the phenomenon of global warming will jeopardize everything. Droughts are expected to disrupt the livelihoods and put millions and millions people at a higher risk of having food, and food scarcity will create massive migration. Rising sea levels are intended to affect coastlines and beaches. 60% of the total Caribbean land is below the sea level. As reported by NASA, the sea level is expected to increase by 1to 4 ft by 2050. This level will have a tremendous impact on the Caribbean islands. Higher temperatures will increase the probability to get hit by frequent and stronger storms because warm temperatures of the air and sea surface play a major role in storms intensity. According to Michael Oppenheimer, who is a Geosciences professor at Princeton University, Stated that “Global warming will probably increase storms intensity and size simultaneously, resulting in a significant intensification of storm surges”. This statement is clearly right, because studies have shown that, during the last three years, storm like hurricane carried more rainfall than previous.  The warmer the air temperature the more water it can be held as result, leading to more precipitation. As a vivid example, hurricane Maria 2017 had a sustained precipitation of 7 in. per hour. Erosion and high surface temperature have been suspected as the main cause that affected the beautiful coral reefs of the Caribbean region. In some parts of the Caribbean, it’s almost impossible to enjoy beaches due to the presence of dirty sea. Furthermore, Erosion will drastically affect agriculture in this region.

In order to decrease or stop the consequences of global warming, world leaders must work together. Somehow every country has contributed to this phenomenon. As this study has just shown, the effects of Global warming on the Caribbean nations are enormous. In term of Social and economic, the Caribbean nations are in a particularly difficult position. Tourism, which is the major source of income of this particular region, is at high risk. The particularity of the Caribbean is its beautiful landscape, beaches, and exotic food; without these assets, tourism could be significantly reduced, which would result in a tremendous economic lost and lead to a potential social chaos. Developed countries should help to prevent this failure because for many centuries this region was overexploited by countries so called rich countries.



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