Thursday, February 3, 2011

Scientists find ‘creeping effects’ of climate change in Philippine coastal areas

If the world worries about monster storms, floods and landslides, what the eyes don't usually see should concern them as much.

Top marine scientists from around the country have found indications of the "creeping effects" of climate change on marine life—a study aimed at shifting focus from changes in weather phenomena on land to those happening underwater.

Tagged ICE CREAM (Integrated Coastal Enhancement: Climate Research, Enhancement and Adaptive Management), the government-funded project has found rising water temperatures, coral bleaching and coastal erosion in several of its 28 project sites dotting the Philippine coastline.

The team shared its initial findings to the INQUIRER as it marked the start of its third year. The P98-million project, funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DoST), the World Wildlife Fund and Conservation International involves more than a dozen marine science experts from across the country and separate staff at project sites.

“Something that is not visible is much more difficult to understand. It (the sea) is much more prone to being dismissed as being “no, there's still a lot of fish,” said Wilfredo Campos, a marine biologist from the University of the Philippines-Visayas.

“You don't really see what's happening. You see that there are mudslides, you see what's happening in the forest, but at sea, you really don't know what's happening. You look at the sea and feel that it (resources) is still finite, when actually, it's not,” Campos told the INQUIRER on Thursday.

Much debate still surrounds climate change, its causes and effects, but Porfirio Aliño, marine biologist from the UP Marine Science Institute, would rather look the at the bottomline.

“The climate is always changing, how you


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