Climate change impacts

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The impact of climate change on the St Lucia system can be considered in terms of the physical processes that drive the functioning of the system: • Ocean-based physical processes including sea level changes, waves, tides and currents. • Terrestrial-based hydrological processes such as changes in rainfall and runoff, the frequency and duration of extreme hydrological events, and sediment/nutrient yields. • Processes that operate at the interface between land and sea such as sediment transport in the littoral zone, morphological changes to the beach system due to wave action, and tidal inlet hydrodynamics and morphodynamics.There is evidence of potentially significant changes in all of the above-mentioned processes as part of global climate change, both natural and due to anthropogenic activities. For unique systems like St Lucia that are important incubators of biodiversity both locally and internationally, the management challenge is how to adapt to future changes. This adaption must start by identifying the main drivers of change for the system, the potential magnitudes of the changes, and their likely effects. In this chapter we focus on the main physical drivers in the functioning of the system and current estimates of how these may change over the next century. Ecosystem responses to these changes are only discussed in very broad terms. A comprehensive and integrated analysis of the effects of climate change on St Lucia is the subject of current and on-going research.




Mather, A. A., Stretch, D. D., & Maro, A. Z. (2011). Climate change impacts. In Ecology and Conservation of Estuarine Ecosystems: Lake St Lucia as a Global Model (pp. 397–462). Cambridge University Press.

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