- Dr. Zaw Min Aung
(Ministry of Foreign
Some 72 per cent of Earth is covered in water and one-third of the world’s population lives in “water-stressed” countries, defined as a country’s ratio of water consumption to water availability. Moreover, there is much more freshwater stored in the ground than there is in liquid form on the surface.
The earth is the only known water planet. More than 17 per cent of the protein in our diet comes from the ocean, and nearly half of the human population lives within 60 miles of the coast. At least 90 per cent of international trade is transported by sea and the ocean absorbs about 92 per cent of the solar energy reaching the Earth’s surface.
The natural capital provided by the ocean belongs to everyone and must be protected. It boils down to three basics: food, water and a livable habitat. The ocean is responsible for a stable climate that provides a livable habitat. Water vapor from evaporation provides the precipitation that allows food to grow and water to drink. From the ocean currents to weather patterns and the climate, the ocean is indispensable to life in the water or on land. The ocean is at the foundation of the natural capital that supports life on Earth.
Today the oceans in the world are under threat and the global ocean is largely without laws or international protections. It is being depleted, polluted and staked out by nations laying claim to marine resources. High tides and storm surges riding on ever-higher seas are more dangerous to people and coastal infrastructure. Natural protections against damaging storm surges are increasingly threatened.
Myanmar is bordered by India, Bangladesh and the Bay of Bengal to west, China to the northeast, Laos and Thailand to east, and the Andaman Sea to the south. Myanmar covers 676,578 square kilometers (261,228 square miles), which is roughly the same size of Texas or Britain and France combined.
Strategically, Myanmar is located near major Indian Ocean shipping lanes and is sandwiched between two of the world’s great superpowers, India and China. It embraces 653,508 square kilometers of land and 23,070 square kilometers of water. It has a total of 5,876 kilometers of land boundaries: 193 kilometers with Bangladesh; 2,185 kilometers with China; 1,463 kilometers with India; 235 kilometers with Laos; and 1,800 kilometers with Thailand. It has 1,930 kilometers of coastline on the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea.
Myanmar looks like a diamond-shaped kite with a tail hanging off the southeast
corner. From the peak of the kite in the north to the southern end of its tail, the country extends 1,275 miles. At its broadest extent from east to west, it measures approximately 580 miles.
Myanmar-China launches joint oceanographic research
The Chinese research vessel Xiang Yang Hong 03, carrying a team of scientists, arrived at the Thilawa Sea Port to
jointly conduct oceanographic research with Myanmar experts.
This cooperation aims at contributing to better understanding on regional variations in response to climate change and to support marine ecological protection in Myanmar’s waters. During the three-day winter cruise, observations were carried out to study oceanography, marine chemistry and marine biology using the research vessel.
The research work was conducted with five representatives from the Ministries of Defence, Agriculture, Livestock Breeding and Irrigation, Transport and Communication and Education.
Rise of the sea level
A rise of the sea level can mean that saltwater intrudes into groundwater drinking supplies, contaminates irrigation supplies, or overruns agricultural fields. Low-lying, gently sloping coastal areas are particularly vulnerable to contamination of freshwater supplies.
A sea level rise is usually attributed to global climate change by thermal expansion of the water in the oceans and by melting of ice sheets and glaciers on land.
When sea levels rise rapidly, even a small increase can have devastating effects on coastal habitats. As seawater reaches farther inland, it can cause destructive erosion, wetland flooding, aquifer and agricultural soil contamination, and lost habitat for fish, birds, and plants.
The sea level can rise by two different mechanisms with respect to climate change. First, as the oceans warm due to an increasing global temperature, seawater expands — taking up more space in the ocean basin and causing a rise in water level. The second mechanism is the melting of ice over land, which then adds water to the ocean.
Climate change is a change of weather patterns when that change lasts for an extended period of time and it can refer to a change in average weather conditions. Climate change is caused by factors such as biotic processes, variations in solar radiation received by Earth, plate tectonics, and volcanic eruptions. Certain human activities have been identified as primary causes of ongoing climate change, often referred to as global warming.
The natural greenhouse effect
The greenhouse effect is a warming of the earth’s surface and lower atmosphere caused by substances such as carbon dioxide and water vapor, which let the sun’s energy through to the ground but impede the passage of energy from the earth back into space. Energy emitted from the sun is concentrated in a region of short wavelengths including visible light. Much of the solar radiation is absorbed at the earth’s surface, causing the surface and the lower parts of the atmosphere to warm.
Due to global warming, temperatures have been increasing year after year all over the world, and scientists everywhere are greatly concerned. People are well aware of the consequences such as drought, storms and heavy rainfall. Global warming is likely to be the greatest cause of species extinctions this century.
There are solutions that can reduce global warming and other related disasters. As all these adverse effects are brought on by human beings, they have a responsibility to control them and restore a normal balance. As for the governments and citizens, concerted efforts should be made to move forward to implement the global warming solutions.
Translated by Win Ko Ko Aung