There were two posts today that at first I was going to pass on and not post a comment. Then, after thinking about the two of them together the lightbulb went off (i’m slow this morning).
The first post was about mangrove trees and their certain demise in 2050 given climate change projections. I totally get it and I’ve spent time in mangrove swamps and realize how critical they are for coastline health and animal nurseries … but climate forecasters have been wrong before and 30 years is a long time, and much can happen.
As in all studies like this it seems, scenario selection is key – this study is no different and under the more damaging scenarios, … quote: “”Under high-emissions scenarios, rates of sea-level rise on many tropical coastlines will exceed 7 millimeters per year, the rate at which we concluded there’s a 6.2 percent probability mangroves can sustain growth,” said co-author Erica Ashe, a post-doctoral scientist in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “The loss of these mangrove ecosystems could result in increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and fewer vital buffers against storm surges in the long run.”
The second post explains that offshore barriers, e.g., reefs and mangrove swamps are critical to saving large populations from increased storm activity and strengths.
Quote: “A new study finds that about 31 million people worldwide live in coastal regions that are “highly vulnerable” to future tropical storms and sea-level rise driven by climate change. But in some of those regions, powerful defenses are located just offshore. Of those 31 million people, about 8.5 million directly benefit from the severe weather-protection of mangroves and coral reefs, key buffers that could help cushion the blow against future tropical storms and rising waters, according to the study published May 29 in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE.”
Then the authors tie this back to the first post rather well, quote:
“Simply put, it’s much cheaper to conserve a mangrove than to build a sea wall,” said Northern Illinois University scientist Holly Jones, the study’s lead author.
A 100-meter-wide coastal strip of mangroves can reduce wave heights by as much as two-thirds, previous research has shown. Coral reefs meanwhile buffer wave energy by up to 97% in some contexts, significantly reducing erosion and cutting flood-damage costs in half annually.
“Coral reefs and mangroves serve as cost-efficient buffers against the adverse impacts of climate change, and they already play important roles in protecting human lives and livelihoods, while providing a multitude of biodiversity benefits,” said Jones, who holds a joint appointment at NIU in biological sciences and environmental studies