Monday, August 20, 2007

90% of Puntarenas could be under water in 2100

(La Nacion) - According to a report by the National Meteorological Institute (IMN) and the International Ocean Institute (IOI), located at the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica, between 60% and 90% of the town of Puntarenas could be under water by the year 2100, due to global warming.

The report indicates that the level of the oceans is expected to rise during this century and could reach a level of up to one meter higher than the current level.

If the prediction of a rise occurs the report says that up to 90% of Puntarenas, mostly residential area, could disappear under water.

In the most of optimistic predictions, the rise would only be 30 centimeters, that would affect 105 hectares leaving 60% of Puntarenas under water.

The global consensus, published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is that the rise in sea level will be at least 28 centimeters over the next 90 years.

If global warming accelerates, the rise in seal level will be more rapidly. The predictions are based on satellite images.

According to oceanographer, Alejandro Gutierrez, director of the IOI in Costa Rica, the areas for most concern are those low lying coastal areas in respect with the sea level.

Today Puntarenas and the surrounding areas of Pitahaya, Chomes, Chacarita and Tarcoles is home to 60.000 people and has a land and infrastructure value calculated at us$580 million dollars, an amount calculated in the year 2000, and representing 3% of the gross national product for last year.

Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of the Earth's near-surface air and oceans in recent decades and its projected continuation.

An increase in global temperatures is expected to cause sea level rise, increased intensity of extreme weather events, and changes in the amount and pattern of precipitation. Other effects include changes in agricultural yields, glacier retreat, species extinctions and increases in the ranges of disease vectors.

The International Ocean Institute was founded in 1972 by Professor Elisabeth Mann Borgese as a knowledge-based non-governmental, non-profit international organization devoted to the sustainable development of the oceans.

It operates through the activities of its Headquarters residing in Malta and Operational Centres located in 25 countries around the world.

Article published by La Nacion on August 13, 2007. If you know Spanish and want to read the original article click here. Translation by Inside Costa Rica.
As for the photo translation: the red line shows the area of Puntarenas that would be submerged if the ocean level indeed rises one meter higher than its current level, while the green line indicates the area that would be affected if the ocen level rises "only" 30 centimeters.

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