Climate Change and Our Aquatic Resources


Dr. Rafael D. Guerrero III










Climate change, the global phenomenon that’s causing extreme meteorological events is attributed to “global warming” or “greenhouse effect”.  Trapped heat radiating from the earth’s surface by carbon dioxide and other gases emitted largely by industries that burn massive amounts of fossil fuel and other human activities has brought the disruptive change.

 The World Meteorological Organization has reported that concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere swelled from a pre-industrial level of 280 ppm to around 379 ppm in 2005.  The upsurge has raised the world’s average surface temperature by around 0.74 oC over the last 100 years.  At such rate, a 0.04 oC increase in the next two decades is projected.

 WMO explains that the effects of climate change include “extreme temperatures, heat waves, new wind pattern, worsening drought in some regions, heavy precipitation in others, melting glaciers and Arctic ice, and rising global average sea levels.”

 In the Philippines, scientists begin to assess the impact of climate change on aquatic resources.  For instance, studies on two watersheds (Angat Reservoir and Lake Lanao) using three global change models showed varying effects on surface water runoff ranging from -12 percent to 32 percent.  They have found that water runoff is more sensitive to change in precipitation than in temperature.

Studies on the impact of climate change on RP’s marine resources have yet to be done.

 There is urgent need for new and appropriate policies and programs to enhance the people’s capability to adapt to climate change and to mitigate its impact particularly on aquatic and marine resources.

 For adaptation, public education and awareness mechanisms on climate change designed to encourage citizens’ participation and build constituency should be promoted. For mitigation, it is imperative to implement a comprehensive rehabilitation of degraded ecosystems such as denuded watersheds, mangroves, and coral reefs.

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