Sea Level Rise Mombasa and Lamu

Ochanda Valentine
Communicating Science
23rd April 2015

Sea level rise Mombasa and Lamu Global SLR refers to increased changes on the volume of sea water mainly due to volume increase in the oceans as a result of changes in ocean circulation patterns mainly due to increased temperatures, and resultant thermal expansion of sea waters. Other studies define this relationship of landward intrusion and floods by sea water as a consequence of increasing levels of water in ocean channels. Local SLR is mainly the difference of vertical land motion and the vertical motion of the sea surface.

The steady and slow rise in global sea levels along the coastal tidal range/zones, has been associated not only with the permanent inundation of coastal islands, but also with ecological/environmental and socio-economic consequences. other effects include increased flooding events associated with changes in patterns of tropical storms,  hurricanes, typhoons and tsunamis leading to losses in major coastal cities.These storms mostly break seawalls, leading to flood waters over topping levees, and storm surges that wash and breach barriers and increase cost implications for these regions. The magnitude of sea level changes and their impacts vary from coast to coast depending on the geographical characteristics, topography of the coastal strip as well as natural and anthropogenic activities within the shoreline which include hard engineering infrastructure and services along the coasts and deltas.

The climate change bill 2014 in Kenya, is in the making and soon will become a legal and policy document to guide the climate change related adaptation and mitigation strategy in the country. The Kenyan chapter of the climate change working group is currently spearheading the development of the bill. The working group is ensuring that the same bill is acceptable to the legislators. The solid process is meant to help avoid a repeat of fallout after being rejected in 2013 by the then President Mwai Kibaki. The bill will offer much – needed help in streamlining the sectoral approach to climate change adaptation and mitigation in the country.

My interest is in the coastal cities especially islands in relation to sea climate-related perturbations, especially sea level changes. Research has indicated that the Antarctic ice sheets are melting due to high temperatures. Many islands in the Pacific and Indian oceans are at real threat of being inundated due to accelerated sea level rise. Evidence has shown that there are changes in the cyclic patterns in the oceans, due to warmer oceans. As well as increased coastal tsunamis and flooding that puts at risk many coastal communities who rely on the sea for their common survival and a great hub of tourism.

Urban dwellers in cities along Kenya’s coastal strip will become increasingly vulnerable to the associated risks of increasing sea level rise. The Southern and Eastern African coastline comprising the coasts of South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya is regularly affected by cyclonic and other significant weather events that pose risks related to large
wave events along the coast.

The question is, after looking at the active thematic areas that the Kenya climate change working group supports, coastal systems and the islands have not featured prominently. Mombasa is known for its tourism prowess even though being affected by the current security state in the country. The island and its environs has clean beaches that have attracted tourists since time immemorial. The economic boost facilitated by tourism is leading to increased infrastructure development to meet the demands for lavish relaxation within the coastal area. Apart from being a tourist hot point, Mombasa has also been earmarked as an important transport corridor for sea-based transport with the Mombasa port serving a large part of east and central Africa.

On the other hand Lamu island has been known for its superb Swahili architecture and the unesco world heritage site where this beautiful island is currently preserved, the cultural practices in Lamu have made the island a choice destination during the mauled I season for entertainment and the sampling of the amu culture.

Climate change research has been done on the coast of Mombasa, on the projected effects of sea level rise on the economy and activities at this important coastal town. In contrast, however, nothing much has been done for the Lamu island. The need for this blog. Watch this space, and journey with me as we document the climate-related perturbations. Especially sea level rise and the feeling of the residents in this two islands including the role of the county governments in Mombasa and Lamu response to the threats mentioned
above.

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36 thoughts on “Sea Level Rise Mombasa and Lamu

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