Tue, Mar 03, 2009 - Page 16 News List

[ENVIRONMENT] Canaries in the mine of climate change

With rapidly changing weather patterns, polar peoples find their traditional survival techniques are under threat

By Shabtai Gold  /  DPA , GENEVA

A breakwater built just a decade back is no longer sufficient, as water levels near Iqaluit have risen by close to a meter, which scientists say is a result of the melting and the rising temperatures, causing the ocean waters to expand.

The impact of the warming is also affecting island peoples, who see their land disappearing under the oceans.

Furthermore, the never-before-seen pace of change is already intensifying weather patterns around the world, making events that occurred only once in several years annual incidents and increasing the fury of both storms and droughts.

With the global consequences come global solutions, say International Polar Year scientists. While some areas may become drier and less suitable for agriculture, other areas, such as Finland, may be able to grow fruits and vegetables that would not have survived just several years ago in the frigid regions.

Adaptation, warned Hovelsrud, would still not remove the need to take immediate steps to stop the heating of the planet.

“The message is adaptation is inevitable, mitigation is absolutely necessary,” she said.

Also See: Venetians fear for their cultural heritage


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