Friday, March 12, 2010

Is climate change changing us?

No survey team out on the beach lately can fail to notice the increasing erosion of sand by wave action, and for those of us who were here last phase, the difference in beach width is startling.

The mini-cliffs being carved out may be dramatic, but how accurate is our perception of the change - and what effect might this have on the coming turtle nesting season? On Monday the expedition began a new survey to measure beach profile and give us some concrete answers.

Field Co-ordinator Sara instigated the project with a presentation based on her attendance last phase at a WWF workshop addressing climate change issues in relation to turtle populations.

After the talk she took everyone out on the beach to test out a technique for charting the gradient of the sand from vegetation to surf. With three measurement points on the beach near base we can now start to collect daily data on the state of our sand. A shrinking beach obviously presents potential problems for nesting turtles, particularly leatherbacks, which do not favour the higher parts of the beach.

We hope to establish whether the changes are temporary, seasonal, or serious in their consequences - and whether more intense beach cleans might help the sand to even out through naturally and unobstructed recycling.


Anonymous said...

Beach profiling is the best kind of profiling around!