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Title: Understanding the science of climate change: Talking points - Impacts to the Pacific Islands

Author: Schramm, Amanda; Loehman, Rachel;

Date: 2011

Source: Natural Resource Report NPS/NRPC/CCRP/NRR-2011/287. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Natural Resource Program Center. 34 p.

Publication Series: Miscellaneous

Description: The Pacific islands face a variety of impacts as a result of climate change. Already-observed changes include increased average temperatures, coral bleaching, sea level rise and associated coastal erosion, increased intensity of cyclones, and a trend toward drier conditions. In the next century, sea level rise and associated erosion are expected to shrink shorelines and threaten human communities as well as species such as mangroves and endangered monk seals. Increased intensity of cyclones and storm surges could damage infrastructure, coastal habitat areas, and forests. High elevation cloud forests are projected to see reduced cloud cover and warmer temperatures that could facilitate the spread of diseases such as avian malaria, threatening endangered native birds like Hawaiian honeycreepers. Overall drier conditions and saltwater intrusion are expected to occur, straining fresh water supplies for irrigation and drinking water. Coral species will likely experience more frequent bleaching events due to higher sea surface temperatures, and many may die due to the effects of bleaching and decreasing oceanic pH (ocean acidification). Tourism and fisheries have high economic importance in this region, and both of these livelihoods are threatened by the predicted impacts to shorelines and marine ecosystems.

Keywords: climate change, impact, sustainability strategies, management plans, Pacific islands

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Citation:


Schramm, Amanda; Loehman, Rachel. 2011. Understanding the science of climate change: Talking points - Impacts to the Pacific Islands. Natural Resource Report NPS/NRPC/CCRP/NRR-2011/287. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Natural Resource Program Center. 34 p.

 


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