Monday, May 7, 2012

The Cost of Change

It's rare to be anywhere on the planet these days without hearing about climate change and how it impacts life on earth.  No stranger to this phenomenon are the people living near the Bay of Bengal surrounded by pristine snorkeling opportunities such as those found outside the Andaman Islands (Fig 1.1).  Since the 2004 tsunami hit South Asia, many governments have invested in tourism to boost rebuilding costs caused by the tsunami devastation. 

Fig. 1.1 - Andaman Islands 

Climates in that area experience little change in temperature throughout the year ranging 2 degrees F over 12 months.  The Koppen classification system marks this 'Am' Tropical Monsoon as such due to the dry season the area experiences.   This is the variation that distinguishes places such as the Andaman islands from tropic rainforest regions.  With dependence on mT air behind onshore flow, the wind circulates in such a way that air shifts once a year bringing cooler temperatures and heavy rainfall during summer months (Fig 1.2). 

Fig. 1.2 -  climograph for Mangalore, India

It is theorized that warming bay area waters are behind the delay in this wind circulation shift allowing shallow waters near the Andaman Islands to stay warmer for longer periods of time resulting in devastating impacts to symbiotic algae that keep corals thriving.  Evidence of this can visually be measured by levels of 'coral bleaching' witnessed in the area following the delay of monsoon rains this year.  While it may increase the dollars and cents brought to economic regions surrounding the area, the change brought by climate won't lead tourists to stunning reefs in the Andamans this year.


N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2012. < >.
Gies, Erica. "Holding On to What Was in the Andamans." The New York Times 12 Feb. 2012: TR+. Web. 22 Apr. 2012.
Arbogast, Alan F. Discovering Physical Geography. second ed. Hoboken: John Wiley and Sons, 2011. 214-18. Web. 22 Apr. 2012.

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