By Alexander Villafania
LOS BAÑOS, LAGUNA - Marine scientists from the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) have developed a tool to assess the vulnerability of coastal areas to climate change.
Called the Integrated Coastal Sensitivity, Exposure, and Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change (or ICSEA Change), it was developed through the DOST’s Remote Sensing Information for Living Environments and Nationwide Tools for Sentinel Ecosystems in our Archipelagic Seas (RESILIENT SEAS), a program to monitor coastal communities in the Philippines.
RESILIENT SEAS involves coordination with the Marine Science Institute of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, UP Visayas, Bicol University, Xavier University (Cagayan de Oro), Mindanao State University (Naawan), and De La Salle University (DLSU).
The tool uses three factors: sensitivity, exposure or threat of exposure, and lack of adaptive capacity.
Using the tool, two factors out of three would indicate mean moderate vulnerability, while the presence of three factors would mean high vulnerability to climate change impact.
Among the methods to determine the effects of climate change are noticeable changes in soil erosion in beaches. Coral reefs and mangroves can also indicate sensitivity to climate change.
Coastal communities using ICSEA Change can also know what types of effects climate change would have on their respective communities. These might include rise in sea level, ocean warming, an increase in typhoon strength and heavy rainfall, and sedimentation.