Archive for the ‘climate changes’ Category

Rising Temperatures, Disappearing Coastlines

October 26, 2010



Climate Displacement in Bangladesh

October 19, 2010

Bangladesh has among the highest death rates in the world from the hazards of tornadoes, strongwind, lightning, and hail. Current technology provides ineffective warning and communication.Social vulnerability to hazards is high due to poverty, weak housing, illiteracy, and lack ofemergency services. Four steps are proposed to reduce risks from severe local storms in Bangladesh. Install Doppler radar to detect storms, train meteorologists, and developmethods to convey warnings to villages and residents. Develop severe local storm educationmaterials with text and visual information about storms and storm safety. Distribute these toschool children and in billboards, posters, and through emerging technologies such as mobile phones. Construct household-level Bangladesh Ono Storm Shelters in a targeted communityand monitor their acceptance and use. Ensure that women are represented at equal numbers tomen in the education and decision-making for severe local storm reduction and recovery.

CAKED in sweat and slime, Mohamed Abdul Wozad pauses for breath before heaving another basket of river mud on his head, and starting up the slippery path towards the embankment above. A lifetime resident of Gabura Island in southwest Bangladesh, Wozad lives at the battlefront of global climate change, a 28sq km patch of damp earth clasped in the estuarine fingers of Bangladesh’s sprawling river network.

Bangladesh squeezes its roughly 160 million population into an area one-sixth the size of NSW. More than 80 per cent of those people survive on less than $US2 ($2.28) per day; many under constant threat from floods, droughts and cyclones. Together with the Maldives and a few other island states, Bangladesh tops virtually every index of countries most vulnerable to climate change. Experts say Gabura Island and the surrounding areas are the worst affected. In recent years it has been made a poster child by activists, who paint many of the country’s problems as the rotten fruit of Western greed.

“Climate change is not causing anything new, but the frequency and intensity are increasing,” says Ainun Nishat, formerly Bangladesh’s representative at the International Union for Conservation of Nature and now vice-chancellor of BRAC University in Dhaka. “There were massive floods in 1988, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2004 and 2007. Statistically, the 1988 flood was a hundred-year event, but in 1995 and 2000 the water levels were similar [to 1988], and in 2004 they exceeded the 1988 level.”

Bangladeshi scientists say crops are failing in northern parts of the country due to changing weather patterns and, farther south, storms and sea-level rise are destroying property and contaminating arable land with salt. Environmental groups, who blame anthropogenic global warming, argue that if these problems worsen they could trigger catastrophic migration, even though migration experts are sceptical about such claims. In practice, however, it is very difficult to identify the effects of climate change among a welter of other possible causes; far less prove the link between local problems and global emissions.

“It is not yet clear whether these are long-term trends, but our observations on the ground match predictions based on IPCC climate change science, and we are using this as a proxy indicator that climate change is happening in Bangladesh,” says Mozaharul Alam, research fellow at the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies. “The major indications of climate change have come in the past 10 to 15 years, but the locals would say they have begun to observe unusual events over the past five to 10 years. If we really want to claim these problems are due to climate change we need more analysis and more longitudinal data.”

Sources: Risk Factors and Social Vulnerability, Displacement solutions

LILYPAD: Floating City for Climate Change Refugees

October 19, 2010

The climate is changing and not in the good way as the global warming will affect large areas on Earth. One of the repercussions is that the ocean level will increase very much because the ice caps of Antarctic and Greenland, and the glaciers in the mainland will melt. Also, you should know that under warm temperatures the water expands therefore the oceans will rise a lot.

cientists made some research about how the global warming interacts with the increase of ocean levels and they got to the conclusion that with every 1°C the ocean level will rise with 1 meter and according to their estimations, Netherlands, Bangladesh and the atoll Majuro in Oceania (Marshall and Kiribati islands, and the Maldives islands) will be the most affected. The former with 6% of ground loss, the second with 17.5% and the latter with almost an unbelievable rate of 80%. Also, many other countries like Vietnam and Egypt will be devastated by floods and the crops will be ruined by the salt water.

According to a climatological study of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), if we won’t take any measures there will be 250 million of climatic refugees and 9% of the GDP will be threatened. Although most of the governments of developing countries aren’t taking any measures, there are some interesting projects that could be a solution for the rising of the ocean levels.

One of these is the Lilypad which is a prototype of auto-sufficient amphibious city and it was designed by architectVincent Callebaut. The Lilypad project is actually a floating ecopolis that will provide housing for a large crowd of climate refugees therefore will be the solution in case of worldwide ecological crisis.

Lilypad consists of a new biotechnological prototype and was designed for nomadism as it will travel on the water line of the oceans, all the way from the equator to the poles thanks to two marine streams: warm ascending of the Gulf Stream and the cold descending of the Labrador.

Lilypad is a visionary structure and it’s one of the major challenges of the 21st century. This self-sustainable floating ecopolis will prove to be very important as the Earth is warming and the ocean level is rising so much. Hopefully, Lilypad will become a living dream because there will be many ecological refugees that will need it.

Source: World of Architecture Blog, Visual Streak

Bangladesh climate changes: Are floating homes the future of housing?

October 19, 2010

“In the future, millions of people will lose their land and houses. Their survival will be threatened,” Rahman told Reuters.

Experts say a third of Bangladesh’s coastline could be flooded if the sea rises one meter in the next 50 years, creating an additional 20 million Bangladeshis displaced from their homes and farms. This is about the same as Australia’s population.

Saline water will creep deeper inland, fouling water supplies and crops and livestock will also suffer, experts say.

Government officials and NGOs estimate about 10 million people are already threatened by annual floods and storms damaging riverine and coastal islands.

It is unclear how the government could feed, house or find enough clean water for vast numbers of climate refugees in a country of 140 million people crammed into an area of 55,500 sq miles.

“We are taking steps to face the threats of climate change. Bangladesh needs $4 billion to build embankments, cyclone shelters, roads and other infrastructure in the next 15 years to mitigate the threats,” Mohammad Aminul Islam Bhuiyan, the top bureaucrat in the government’s Economic Relations Division, told Reuters.

“These are big challenges and only time will say how efficiently we address them, including finding accommodation for the displaced millions,” he said.


In a taste of what the future might look like, Bangladesh suffered two massive floods and a cyclone last year that together killed about 4,500 people, made at least two million homeless and destroyed 1.8 million tonnes of rice, the country’s main staple.

Even without the additional threat of global warming, the country’s future is under pressure from a rising population and shrinking farmland.

The country lost a third of its agricultural land to accommodate more people as the population rose from 75 million in 1971.

Bangladesh has been able to increase food grain production to nearly 30 million tonnes from less than half that in the early 1980s because of better farming practices and high-yielding varieties of rice.

But many believe Bangladesh has reached saturation point in producing grains, while the population is still growing at nearly 2 percent annually.

The World Bank thinks Bangladesh should change cultivation practices to boost food security, plant large areas of forest in flood-prone areas along rivers and the coast and build embankments.

“We are conducting various studies to find options to save future environmental refugees,” said Sakil Ahmed Ferdausi, a World Bank executive in Dhaka.

“The environmental refugee situation will turn into a dangerous problem in the future and the Bangladeshi government may find it difficult to face the challenge. So we asked donors to help the country,” Ziaul Haque Mukta, of Oxfam International in Dhaka, said.

For Majid, the issues are more immediate.

He lives on Batikamari island on the Januma river, 300 km (180 miles) north of Dhaka and fears his remaining days will be spent on the run from the river, which is constantly creating and retaking land, depending on the season.

There are millions like him. Some have found temporary shelter, mostly on other islands in the rivers that emerge when water levels drop during the summer.

Government and non-government organizations (NGOs) are trying to help Majid and others.

Friendship, a Bangladeshi NGO, is providing houses, latrines, capital for agriculture, pumps for irrigation among the poor people in the river islands.

“Migration rate is very high among the islanders,” Runa Khan, executive director of Friendship, told Reuters. “We have covered 3.5 million people in Bangladesh’s riverine islands but many more are still left.”

Friendship operates a floating hospital to provide health care to the islanders. It has treated 600,000 people since 2001.

But climate change could wipe out their nomadic lifestyle altogether.

“Where will all these people go?” asked Mohammad Nurul Islam, a resident of Cox’s Bazar on the shore of the Bay of Bengal.

Sources: BBC, CNN, The Australian, IrinNews, ENN.