Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mountains across the world affected by climate change

Climate change and its after effects is the hottest thing doing the rounds in the scientific world. Every other day we have a conference or announcements from leading scientists. The layman is confused but one thing every one has noticed is the effect of climate change on mountain ecosystem. Areas, which never used fans, have started using them. The other day I was in Munnar, a hill station in Kerala. The average daily temperature has definitely gone up. Some of the perennial rivulets have dried up. Mosquitoes have moved in to new areas. The birth cycle of endangered Nilgiri Tahr is going awry. As I have mentioned on an earlier occasion in this blog the birth of new tahr kids, {Kid is the appropriate scientific term for Tahr babies), used to occur with clock work precision.

The rising temperature in mountain ecosystem is a worldwide phenomenon. The average daily temperature in mountain areas across the world is increasing greater than temperature in low lands. This is a wee bit puzzling. One of the explanations given is the increasing cloud cover. Usually the mountains radiate heat under clear skies, particularly at night, but under a cloud cover they retain that heat. This cloud cover may in turn generate additional heat. When clouds condense and turn into rain they release heat. This is only a surmise. More research is urgently needed to unravel the real facts and also its impact on flora and fauna.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Tourism of doom

Tourism of doom is a new word coined by travel industry specialists for the growing number of tourists flocking to far-flung corners of the world to see endangered natural wonders before they disappear. These include melting glaciers, shrinking tropical rain forests, threatened coral reefs and other places these tourists believe will be destroyed in a generation due to climate change.
Tourists visiting the melting glaciers in the Antarctic have increased so much that cruises must now be booked well in advance. During the 2007-08-tourist season about 46,000 tourists visited Antarctica an exponential doubling of figures in five years time. Churchill in northern Canada described as “Polar Bear Capital of the World” is also flocked by tourists of doom. This same logic is ascribed for a rise in the number of foreign visitors to Africa’s wildlife reserves.
Let us hope that this tourist influx does not hasten the doom. Prudently planned the influx can be used to tap the money urgently needed to further the cause of conservation