Climate Change in the Pacific: Photos Vlad Sokhin PANOS February 10, 2017Posted by bohdan.warchomij in : Metaphor Online, National Geographic , trackback
PUBLISHED in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
Global temperatures hit record highs the past three years in a row—and the people of the Pacific have been feeling the effects.
The Pacific region has experienced devastating cyclones, storm surges, coral bleaching, and irregular rainfall patterns. Sea level rise threatens low-lying islands, where salt water infiltrates drinking water wells and kills staple food crops, as well as damaging property.
Photographer Vlad Sokhin has been documenting environmental changes in Pacific communities since 2013. Sokhin focuses on indigenous communities who are adapting to challenges created primarily by carbon emissions from developed countries, he says.
“In every country I’ve seen effects of global warming and climate change,” he says. “Different countries face different effects. For example, in Guam, the biggest challenge is coral bleaching, but in the last few years, the cyclones have become more intense.”
Abnormally warm ocean waters can bleach corals, which occurs when stressed corals expel the colorful algae living within their tissues. Coral bleaching threatens the reef ecosystem, but increasingly intense cyclones and tropical storm surges pose immediate danger to island residents.
Two category-five cyclones hit the Pacific in the past two years: Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu in March 2015, and Cyclone Winston hit Fiji in February 2016. Winston was the strongest tropical cyclone to hit the Southern Hemisphere in recorded time.