Professor Yu.A. Izrael
USSR State Committee for Hydrometeorology
Dr M. Hashimoto
Environment Agency, Japan
Dr W.J.McG. Tegart
Australian Science and Technology Council
This chapter covers a wide range of potential impacts of climate change. It addresses the implications of global warming, sea-level rise, changed precipitation and evaporation and stratospheric ozone depletion for human settlement, which includes housing and infrastructure, and for the energy, transport and industrial sectors. It also covers the likely impacts of global warming and stratospheric ozone depletion on human health and air quality, and the potential overall impact on human health and natural systems of increased levels of ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation reaching the earth's surface as a result of depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer.
Evaluating scientific predictions of global climate change is the responsibility of Working Group I. At present there are substantial scientific uncertainties about the nature and magnitude of climatic changes that might result from an effective doubling of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. However, it is necessary to make some assumptions about changes in climate in order to assess potential impacts which are due to these changes. The general types of changes that serve as a basis for the impacts assessments are described below. They are not intended to be definitive. The assessments in each section of this report summarise studies in the literature that are based on varying assumptions about climate change; those assumptions are generally described for each study cited. Many impact assessments are based on projections of a particular General Circulation Model (GCM) for long-term equilibrium conditions due to an equivalent CO2 doubling in radiative forcing, while others assume a particular change in temperature, precipitation, or other variables. Owing to the large heat capacity of the oceans, full realisation of equilibrium temperature increase associated with a radiative forcing is expected to be delayed a number of years.
A consensus exists among the world's leading scientists that a continuation of the current rate of increase in concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere will cause a significant increase in global average annual temperatures. An increase in GHG concentrations equivalent in infrared absorbing effect to a doubling of pre-industrial levels of CO2 is projected to occur between 2025 and 2050. This increase in concentrations of GHG could be expected at equilibrium, according to projections of Working Group I, to produce a rise in average annual global temperature of 2deg.-4deg.C. Although most climate impact scenarios have used effective CO2 doubling, should current emissions growth continue GHG concentrations would be expected to rise past an effective CO2 doubling.
1.2 Direct impacts of global climate change on human activity
Model simulation and palaeoclimatic evidence suggest that when climate warms, it warms more in higher latitudes than in lower latitudes and more in winter than in summer (Golitsvn, 1989; Schneider, 1989). A warmer atmosphere contains more water vapour and increases the intensity of the whole hydrological cycle, but precipitation patterns are likely to change homogeneously in time and space (Golitsyn, 1989). Some scientists believe that in a warmer climate the earth can be expected to experience more variable weather than now, with a likelihood of more floods and drought, more intense hurricanes or typhoons, and more heatwaves (Golitsyn, 1989; Hansen et al., 1989).
The expected rise in global temperatures will affect human health, comfort, life styles, food production, economic activity, and residential and migration patterns. As global temperature rises, atmospheric circulation patterns are likely to change with alterations in the frequency and seasonality of precipitation and an overall increase in the rate of evaporation and precipitation. Coupled with the associated general rise in temperature, such changes in the water cycle will affect water availability, agricultural activity, flood protection practices, infrastructure planning and natural habitats. If the intensity of the hydrologic cycle increases, some scientists believe that humanity and natural systems may experience much more severe weather-related events such as droughts, floods and extremely severe tropical cyclones. One estimate is that an effective CO2 doubling may increase the intensity of tropical cyclones or hurricanes as much as 40% (Emanuel, 1987). Along with this potential increase in the intensity of such storms, humanity can expect an expansion of the area vulnerable to tropical cyclones, with the areas of potential damage expanding northward in the Northern Hemisphere and southward in the Southern Hemisphere, perhaps exposing such populated areas as the eastern coasts of Australia (Henderson-Sellers and Blong, 1989) These projections of greater problems from tropical cyclones are based largely on calculations of effects of increased surface temperature. Although the area of sea having temperatures over this critical value will increase as the globe warms, the critical temperature itself may increase in a warmer world (Working Group I Report). Further studies may provide a much more definitive picture of likely impacts of global warming on tropical cyclone activity.
Together with the anticipated disruption in atmospheric circulation and storm patterns, humanity is expected to face a significant rise in global mean sea-level. Global warming will cause a thermal expansion of the upper layers of the ocean and this expansion, together with the expected melting and movement into the ocean of some land-based glaciers, is expected to accelerate the current sea-level rise trend. A rise of 9-29 cm is expected over the next 40 years, or 28-98 cm by 2090 (Working Group I Report - Summary). A rise of only 25 cm or more in relative sea-level would displace many residents of the delta regions of the Nile, the Ganges and the Yangtze from their homes and livelihoods and could render uninhabitable island nations such as the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, and Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands in the Pacific (Tickell, 1989). This projected sea-level rise will cause widespread coastal erosion, especially on gradually sloping coasts such as those in the Atlantic or Gulf Coasts of the US (Titus, 1988), or the West Coast of Africa (Murday, 1989).
One scientist has projected that a rise of 1 m in sea-level could seriously affect nearly a hundred million people along the coasts of China, particularly in the Pearl River deltaic plain containing the city of Guangxhou, the eastern half of the Yangtze River plain, in which Shanghai is situated, the eastern half of the North China coastal plain containing Tainjin, and the southern half of the Lower Liao River plain where the city of Yingkou is located (Han, 1989). Besides sea-level rise, perhaps attributable to greenhouse effect-induced global warming, tectonic factors and groundwater withdrawal have contributed to rapid rises in recent years in the sea-level along many parts of China's coasts. Although sea-level along the Chinese coast has generally risen 11.5 cm in the past 100 years, relative sea-level rise has been much faster in some low-lying coastal plains. Sea-level rose 0.75 m from 1954-1978 in the Pearl River deltaic plain and 1.3 m in the North China coastal plain around Tianjin; in recent years land settlement caused merely by groundwater withdrawal has exceeded 2 m in the downtown areas of Tianjin and Shanghai (Han, 1989).
In the absence of concerted human efforts to build coastal defences, a sea-level rise of 1 m could inundate the port area of 1900 km and cause damage to nine million Japanese (Ministry of Transport of Japan, 1989). With industry in sub-Saharan Africa concentrated heavily in seaports, many of which are capitals (Tebicke, personal communication, 1989), even a modest sea-level rise could pose a major threat to the economy and political infrastructure of Africa. Chapter 6 discusses these potential impacts of sea-level rise in more detail.
1.3 Observed changes in global, regional and local climate
According to a study released early in 1989, 1988 was the warmest year of the past century in average global temperature (British Meteorological Office and University of East Anglia, 1989). The same researchers reported that 1989 was the fifth warmest year in the 134 years for which they have compiled global temperature records and that six of the ten warmest years on record were in the 1980s (Kerr, 1990).
Although climatologists disagree on whether the observed increase over the past century of about 0.6deg.C in average annual global surface temperature is a clear 'signal' of greenhouse warming, or still within the natural variability of climate, there seems little dispute among climatologists that humanity has already significantly reshaped the earth's climate through such factors as the urban heat-island effect, intensification of desertification through land degradation, deforestation and stratospheric ozone depletion. These factors, some of which have arisen quite independently of the build-up in global concentrations of GHG, are likely to produce significant effects on humanity, often magnifying the disruption caused by a rapid greenhouse-induced global warming.
1.3.1 Potential intensification of the urban heat-island effect
Removal of vegetation, construction of buildings, roads, pavement and other human transformations of the natural environment, together with direct heat generation from human activity, are known to cause the temperatures of urban areas to rise above those of surrounding rural areas. In the US this urban heat-island effect was estimated at an average of just over 1.1deg. C for a sample of 30 US cities and about 2.9deg.C for New York City (Viterito, 1989). In Moscow, USSR, the heat-island effect is projected to add about 3deg.-3.5deg. C to average annual temperatures (Izrael, 1989).
The urban heat-island effect in Shanghai, China, is quite pronounced, with a potential intensity as high as 6.5deg.C on a calm, clear December night in 1979, but no heat-island effect observed on days with strong wind and heavy rain (Zhou, 1989). The urban heat-island effect has been reduced significantly in one city by large-scale tree planting. In Nanking, China, the planting since 1949 of 34 million trees has been credited with a significant cooling of the cities' average temperature (De La Croix, 1990).
Although the heat-island effect has tended to enter into global climate discussions largely in the context of whether some of the observed global temperature rise may be ascribed to the placement of some thermometers in urban areas, the heat-island effect has considerable independent significance for humanity. The rapid urbanisation of many developing countries is transforming the landscape of many cities. The continuing explosive growth of such cities as Cairo (Egypt), São Paulo (Brazil), Mexico City (Mexico), Lagos (Nigeria), Delhi (India) and many other urban megalopolises is likely to effectuate a profound alteration in the local climate. It is quite possible that a considerable temperature amplification in many such areas, attributable to the heat-island effect alone, might be added to an already sizeable projected temperature increase from greenhouse effect-induced global warming. Heat-stress impacts on health, human discomfort and aggravation of urban air-pollution problems, such as smog, are all possible consequences of an additive heat-island and greenhouse warming.
1.3.2 The growth of desertification following land degradation
Human actions such as overgrazing of agricultural lands, removal of tree cover and intensive agricultural practices have furthered soil erosion and have accelerated desertification which in the past was largely caused by natural climatic processes. Whether or not the current desertification is significantly linked to a greenhouse-induced warming trend, it is causing enormous dislocations and great human suffering in Africa. Thousands of nomads in Mauritania have been driven into urban areas and refugee camps, creating great social turmoil (Dadda, 1989). The dimensions of this problem were recently summarised by Lt Col Christine Debrah (Ret'd), Executive Chairman of the Environmental Protection Council of Ghana:
As we are meeting here today, millions of Africans are suffering from hunger and malnutrition. Vast numbers of people are moving within and across national boundaries in search of food, thereby creating environmental refugees. There is, of course, no accurate measure of the extent of the crisis. But the orders of magnitude are indicative: 150 million people threatened by starvation or malnutrition and an estimated 4 million refugees and returnees and an untold number of displaced persons.
Thus, in Africa, dry weather conditions have been experienced, leading to brushfires and further degradation of the land. (Debrah, 1989).
Yet some climate models project that this trend in much of Africa is likely to be exacerbated as the world warms, with increased drought in such places as northwestern Africa (Druyan, 1989, Hansen et al., 1989).
1.3.3 Regional climatic implications of deforestation
Wide-scale deforestation, besides its contribution to the greenhouse effect by converting trees to CO2 and reducing vegetation available to store CO2, also profoundly alters local and regional climates. This alteration can take several forms.
By removing vegetative cover, deforestation reduces the water retention capacity of the soil, increasing soil erosion and making lowland areas more vulnerable to flooding. Extensive deforestation appears to have been a large factor in continental runoff.
In addition. wide-scale deforestation appears to dry the climate of the surrounding region with studies suggesting such effects in parts of India, peninsular Malaysia, parts of the Philippines, Ivory Coast and the Panama Canal area and perhaps also in southwestern China, northwestern Costa Rica and northern Tanzania (Myers, 1988; Regie Newell, Salati, 1984-85). The local and regional climatic disruption, especially parching of agricultural lands, may be of much greater climatic impact to many areas than the changes produced by greenhouse-induced warming. Other human activities in addition to deforestation, eg drainage of wetlands, summer fallowing, bush clearing, and grazing of livestock, may also have regional climatic implications (Street, 1989).
1.3.4 Trends in stratospheric ozone depletion
There has been a certain decline of stratospheric ozone over the middle latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere in the past 20 years. The decrease in total column ozone between latitudes 30deg.N and 64deg.N has been 3% to 5.5% in the winter/early spring months since the late 1960s. Observations in the equatorial zone and Southern Hemisphere (aside from Antarctica where there has been pronounced ozone loss) are too sparse to be evaluated at this time (NASA, WMO Ozone Trends Panel, 1988; UNEP, 1989a).
Despite the certain ozone decrease, the information on the increase to date in biologically certain effects of UV-B radiation has been minimal. The major effects of the observed ozone reduction may occur in the winter months when, because of a low sun angle, UV-B radiation is normally low. Thus, the observed increases have been quantitatively quite small (WHO, 1989). Yet, even with full implementation of the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer, it is projected that concentrations of chlorine in the stratosphere could roughly triple from their current levels of about 2.7 parts per billion (Hoffman and Gibbs, 1988). Furthermore, it is indicated that under certain conditions, significant ozone reduction may occur through heterogeneous reactions in such areas as the Antarctic.
UV-B radiation in the biologically active spectrum is projected to increase by at maximum 20-25% by 2050, but the projected depletion may vary by latitude (WHO, 1989). An increase of anywhere near this magnitude could have serious consequences for human health, forests, agriculture, the marine food chain and materials as indicated in Section 7 of this chapter.
Increased UV-B radiation resulting from stratospheric ozone depletion will interact with global warming to affect such concerns as air pollution, human health, vegetation, fisheries and natural systems. In addition, it is likely that expected further reduction of stratospheric ozone could have some direct impact on the warming itself by altering the atmospheric chemistry within the troposphere. Although it would hardly be surprising that a significant drop in stratospheric ozone could affect surface temperatures, it is not possible at this point even to be certain of the direction of this effect: whether it would magnify or reduce the projected rate of global warming. Increased UV-B radiation striking the surface of the ocean could, however, act to enhance the warming by reducing the biomass of CO2 absorbing marine phytoplankton.
The one clearly understood inter-relationship between global warming and stratospheric ozone depletion is the common role that man-made chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) and other ozone-depleting substances play in both processes. These compounds may provide as much as 25% of the current forcing towards global warming (Hansen et al., 1989) and are the principal cause of stratospheric ozone depletion.
1.3.5 Significance of rates of change
Even in the absence of such potentially additive or multiplicative local, regional or global effects such as urbanisation, desertification, deforestation and stratospheric ozone depletion, the projected pace of global warming is unprecedented in human history. Schneider (1989) points out that a climate change increase of 2deg.-10deg.F (1.1deg.-5.5deg.C) over a century, as projected by some emissions scenarios and models, is some 10 to 50 times faster than the average natural rates of change following the earth's recovery from the last ice age.
If the rate of change is sufficiently rapid, this change could overwhelm humanity's ability to adapt, triggering widespread refugee problems, famine and conflict over scarce resources. Moreover, capital equipment and facilities, such as buildings, industrial plants and civil works, each have design lifetimes after which replacement normally is expected. When the rate of climate change is sufficiently rapid and serious to necessitate abandonment or major modification before the end of the normal lifetimes of such investments, much greater economic costs may be incurred.
1.4 Potential impacts of human response: strategies to limit emissions of greenhouse gases
Humanity's growing concern over the political, economic and ecological consequences of rapid and large-scale climate change may itself produce major impacts on the energy, transport and industrial sectors, and result in changes in building design, land use, agricultural practices, and even in air pollution control.
Some sectors that will experience little impact from the direct effects of greenhouse warming, such as increased mean temperatures, changed precipitation and evaporation patterns, higher sea-levels and different storm patterns, may nevertheless be very significantly affected by public policies or consumer actions designed to restrain emissions of GHG. A particularly noteworthy example is the automotive industry. A rise of 3deg. C or 4deg. C in mean global temperatures would require only little adaptation in engine design given the wide tolerances already engineered into cars; yet public concern about GHG emissions may lead to more stringent fuel economy standards, taxes on carbon-based fuels, consumer movement to smaller or more fuel-efficient vehicles, and public policies or consumer shifts favouring alternative fuels in place of gasoline, and shifts from private automobiles to mass transit.
Concern over the growth of GHG emissions could lead to public policies increasing taxes on gasoline or other fossil fuels, or institution of a carbon tax, levying higher relative charges on such high carbon-content fuels as coal compared with natural gas. Such policies could produce some shifting among fossil fuels, penalising coal producers while increasing markets for gas producers. Regulatory and tax policies designed to limit emissions of GHG gases could create greater market opportunities for energy conservation technologies and non-carbon-based fuels such as solar, wind, geothermal, ocean thermal, hydrogen, fission and fusion.
Governmental policies initiated in response to greenhouse effect concerns also may have impacts on the structure of energy investment. Response strategies to greenhouse effect concerns may cause some countries to choose more reliance on nuclear power and others to rely more on renewables. more energy-efficient fossil-fuel technologies, or shifts among types of fossil fuels. Non-climate-related environmental factors may also act as constraints on rapidly increased reliance on non-carbon energy systems such as hydroelectric power or nuclear power. Increased construction of hydroelectric projects may require considerable human resettlement and flooding of important ecological resources. A serious constraint on increased reliance on nuclear power will be the satisfying of public concerns regarding plant safety and adequacy of waste disposal. Analysis of response strategies and their implications have been undertaken within Working Group III.
Concerns in the US in the mid 1970s over potential depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer led to a sharp drop in sales of CFC aerosols well before the US Environmental Protection Agency in March 1978 prohibited the production and use of non-essential aerosols. Once consumers had been widely aroused by news reports of the CFC threat to the ozone layer, producers of non-CFC aerosols and alternative delivery systems such as pumps and hydrocarbon propelled sprays aggressively and successfully marketed the environmental advantages of their products. (EPA, June 15, 1988 Regulatory Impact Analysis; Kavanaugh et al., 1986.)
It appears too early to detect any pronounced shift in consumer choices in response to concerns about greenhouse emissions. Yet environmental and public groups are promoting product or fuel shifts partly out of concern over emissions of GHG.
The renewable energy industry and energy conservation technology industries are likely beneficiaries of the growing public concern about climate change. Consumer interest in environmentally benign technologies may stimulate their growth. Already some public interest groups are circulating catalogues indicating where consumers can purchase non-CFC refrigerators and a variety of energy saving products.
International treaties, government regulatory policies, shifts in consumer preference for products, and changes in public and private sector investment patterns may all result from growing public concern over the threat to humanity posed by rapid global warming. These responses may produce major impacts on significant sectors of society, but aside from the studies under way within Working Group III there is little analysis allowing such potential effects to be quantified. Accordingly, other sections of this chapter will focus largely on such direct effects of climate change as changes in temperature, precipitation, wind, storm patterns, sea-level and UVB radiation. A high priority of climate impacts research and analysis should be the assessment of the potential magnitude and direction of alternative response strategies to address climate change.
Among the most significant of all the potential impacts of climate change are the possible effects on human settlement, a broad term meant to encompass (i) housing or shelter, (ii) the surrounding community, neighbourhood, village or relevant social unit in which individuals live, (iii) the supporting physical infrastructure (eg water and sanitation services and communications links) and (iv) social and cultural services (eg health services, education, police protection, recreational services, parks, museums etc). Several areas, eg energy, transport, industry and human health, each of which is a central concern of human settlement, will be addressed separately in some detail in subsequent sections.
2.1 Scope and limitations of the assessment
There are relatively few studies on the likely impact of climate change on communities, other than some studies of likely implications of sea-level rise.
A principal difficulty in constructing studies of the likely impact of climate change on human habitat is the fact that many other factors largely independent of climate change, eg demographic trends, technological innovation, evolving cultural tastes, employment opportunities and transportation modes, may significantly shape where and how people will choose to live in the future. For purposes of constructing a model, it is convenient to hold all other factors equal while varying only climate. Yet as Timmerman (1989) points out, virtually the only thing we can be sure of is that all other things will not remain equal.
One can reliably predict that certain developing societies will be more vulnerable to climate changes than highly industrialised countries because they are already at the limits of their capacity to cope with climatic events. Tropical cyclones such as Hurricane Gilbert that ravaged Jamaica in 1988, the floods that inundated large portions of Bangladesh in 1987 and 1988, and the drought induced famine that has plagued parts of Africa over the past decade are all manifestations of the extraordinary present vulnerability of many developing countries to extreme climatic events.
2.2 Assessment of impacts
2.2.1 An overview of potential vulnerability of human settlement to rapid climate change
Although there are few analyses of such potential impacts, there is every reason to believe that if climate change were to occur at the high end of the projected ranges, the consequences could be serious for many countries, especially for developing countries.
The very existence of entire island countries such as the Maldives, Tuvalu and Kiribati could be imperiled by a rise in the mid range of current sea-level rise projections. Such a sea-level rise could also cause large population displacements in the river delta regions of such densely populated nations as Egypt, India, Bangladesh and China (Tickell, 1989). Although studies of the likely impact of climate change on agricultural production in developing countries are quite sparse, such agriculture is quite vulnerable to climatic variability, and much present hunger and malnutrition in Africa may already be attributable to drought-induced famine.
Changes in climate could produce large impacts on nomads and traditional societies, such as Canadian Inuit people (Amagoalik, 1989), the Gwichin people of Canada's Northwest Territories and Yukon Territory, where climate change may adversely affect hunting, trapping and fishing, which are central both to the economy and the culture of the Gwichin people (Kassi, 1989). Warming in the Arctic and sub-Arctic could mean a shorter trapping season and reduced quality of furs, a major source of income for many Yukon Territory residents (Klassen, 1989). With Working Group I having projected that an effective CO2 doubling could produce a warming of 2deg.-5deg.C in winter and 3deg.-5deg.C in summer in the southern Sahara, it appears plausible that inhabitants of that region, many of whom are nomads, would be significantly affected by such changes in an already hot climate, but little systematic study has been done to identify the potential effect of climate warming on nomadic peoples in hot regions such as the Sahara or the Arabian Peninsula.
Studies do exist, however, in several important areas. These include:
220.127.116.11 Vulnerability of human settlement to sea-level rise
A 1 m sea-level rise is likely to cause major problems on the intensely utilised and densely populated Asian coastal plains - producing coastline recession of up to several kilometres, displacing coastal villages and depriving many people of their land and resources (Bird, 1986). A group of experts convened by the Commonwealth Secretariat (1989) reported that important river deltas that are likely to be seriously affected by climate change include 'the Nile in Egypt, Ganges in Bangladesh, the Yangtze and Hwang Ho in China, the Mekong in Indo-China, the Irrawaddy in Burrna, the Indus in Pakistan, the Niger in Nigeria, the Parana, Magdalena, Orinoco and Amazon in South America, Mississippi in US and the Po in Europe' (at p67). Major coastal erosion problems are likely in South America at population centres such as Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Mar del Plata, Argentina, (Leatherman, 1986). In an analysis of implications of sea-level rise on four Pacific atoll states, Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands (all independent nations) and Tokelau (a territory of New Zealand), Roy and Connell (1989) project the drowning of barrier reefs, intrusion of saltwater into coastal groundwater supplies, erosion of flat land, and storm damage to ports and other coastal facilities.
Significant sea-level rise could cause considerable damage to the southeast coastal zone of China, that country's most developed agricultural and industrial area. There is a possibility of the flooding and destruction of most of the existing salterns and seawater farms, which are important food sources for China's coastal cities. Wide-scale destruction is projected along the more developed areas on the Yangtze River and Yellow River, with loss of at least 10 million tons of grain. Additional potential adverse effects include damage to housing, transportation and water supply, and expansion of salinised land with destruction of the coastal ecological environment and environmental protection facilities (Ye, 1990).
A 1 m sea-level rise could inundate 12-15% of Egypt's arable land and 11.5% of the land of Bangladesh (Broadus et al., 1986). Sea-level rise already threatens the historic Kenyan town of Lamma (Odingo, 1989). Preliminary findings of a survey by the Ministry for Population and Environment indicate that a 1 m sea-level rise would produce wide-scale population displacement in Indonesia. A case study of such impacts on the coastal areas found significant population displacement in each of the three regencies surveyed. In Bekasi Regency such a sea-level rise would flood about 7000 ha of brackish water fish area, 10,000 ha of food crops would be damaged by saltwater intrusion, and 3300 households would lose their land. At Karawang Regency this sea-level rise would flood about 11,000 ha of brackish water fish area, damage 50,000 ha of agricultural land through saltwater intrusion and deprive at least 80,000 households of their livelihood. A 1 m sea-level rise at Subang Regency could flood about 7000 ha of brackish water fish area, damage 20,000 ha of rice-producing wetlands and 6000 ha of home gardens, and destroy the livelihoods of about 81,000 farmers (Sugandhy, 1989). Recently, India has launched a major program for study of the impact of sea-level rise due to the greenhouse effect along the coasts and islands of India. UNEP is sponsoring similar studies of the coasts of West Africa and East Africa.
18.104.22.168 Vulnerability of human settlement to tropical cyclones
As sea surface temperature rises, the ocean area which can spawn tropical cyclones (typhoons, hurricanes etc) is expected to increase. Although the area of sea having temperatures over this critical value will increase as the globe warms, the critical temperature itself may increase in a warmer world (Working Group I Report). Some scientists argue that the intensity of these storms may increase (Emanuel, 1987). One severe storm in September 1988, Hurricane Gilbert, is estimated to have caused eight billion dollars damage in Jamaica alone (Topping, 1988). Damage by tropical cyclones is a major impediment to economic development throughout the Caribbean region and can be expected to become an even larger factor if storm damage increases (Granger, 1989). Tropical cyclones also pose major threats to industrialised nations, as occurred when Hurricane Hugo in September 1989 wreaked havoc along the Carolina coast of the US.
22.214.171.124 Vulnerability of human settlement to flood
Floods are already a major ongoing concern of many developing countries and this problem may be exacerbated by global climate change. Some climate model projections suggest that the greenhouse effect will enhance both ends of the hydrologic cycle, producing more instances of extreme rainfall as well as increased drought (Hansen et al., 1989; Golitsyn, 1989). Thus, floods may become an even greater threat as the world warms. In some instances, the expected rise of sea-levels may aggravate the vulnerability of coastal countries to floods. The floods of 1987 and 1988 proved very damaging to Bangladesh, forcing millions of people from their homes for long periods of time. Yet the people of Bangladesh showed a remarkable resiliency in responding to the 1988 flood, which inundated a large portion of the country (Safiullah, 1989), and this ability to adapt will be increasingly important to coastal countries that will experience increased inundation even under a low climate change scenario.
126.96.36.199 Vulnerability of human settlement to drought or water shortages
Another section of Working Group II is developing detailed projections of likely availability of water resources in a warmer world. The present literature suggests that drought may become a much greater problem. Hansen et al. (1989) foresee drought conditions occurring 5% of the time in the control run (1965 to relatively recently), rising to 10% in the 1990s, about 25% in the 2020s and about 45% in 2050. An Indonesian government study of CO2 doubling and its effect on three river basins, the Citarum River Basin in West Java, the Brantas River Basin in East Java and the Saddang River Basin in South Sulawesi, projected much faster runoff, wide-scale soil erosion and much lower water production. (Sugandhy, 1989.) Such a loss of water resources could be expected to have considerable impact in Indonesia, population of which is increasing rapidly.
Global warming may be expected in some regions to lower the groundwater level, decrease the surface of many lakes or inland waterways, and drop the water level of such bodies. Major disruptions such as those experienced in the Lake Chad region of Africa could become a greater problem. Some other regions might benefit from more abundant water, but accurate prediction of such regional impacts is difficult at this point.
Farmers' responses to drought and land degradation may take many forms. Adaptation to drought may include agropastoral management techniques providing for a more efficient use of reduced rainfall. Poverty and hunger resulting from drought may cause migration and degradation, or change of diet. Land degradation may produce either abandonment of the land or, where investment capacity and knowledge are available, change in cultivation practices to improve yields and arrest land degradation (Mortimore, 1989).
188.8.131.52 Vulnerability of human settlement in some countries to loss of biomass
A major threat to developing countries posed by global warming may be acceleration of depletion of biomass cover as a result of increased drought. This could be an especially severe problem in Africa, where energy supply for 40-odd oil importing countries comes from biomass to a very large degree: upwards of 80% in most countries and over 90% in some (Tebicke, personal comment, 1989). Africans, the majority of whom depend on biomass also for housing, furniture, implements, utensils etc, could experience greater scarcity for such uses.
184.108.40.206 Vulnerability of human settlement to rapid thawing of the permafrost
Climate models have generally projected that arctic and subarctic areas are likely to warm more rapidly than the average global temperature increase. Such a rapid warming could result in a significant thawing of the permafrost in the subarctic, producing major disruption to buildings, roads and bridges, adversely affecting the stability of some existing structures and forcing changes in construction practice (French, 1989).
Permafrost areas of China, which account for about 18% of that country's total territory, appear highly vulnerable to thawing, according to a recent Chinese government assessment. This permafrost zone is mainly distributed in Quinghoi, Tibet Plateau, Quilianshon Mountains, Tionshon Mountains, Altai Mountains, Doxirganling and Xiaoxingongling Mountains in northeast China, and Inner Mongolia. The layer of permafrost is located normally at 1.55.0 m in depth and is about 0.5-2.0 m thick (Ye, 1990).
If the temperature were to rise by 0.5deg.C and remain stable for 10-20 years, it is projected that about 5% of the permafrost in China would thaw out, while a 40-50% thawing is projected for a 2deg.C rise over 10-20 years. Projected impacts of such a thawing include a large a area of thaw settlement and slope landslide with destruction of highways, railways and housing built on permafrost (Ye, 1990).
220.127.116.11 Vulnerability of human settlement to health problems associated with climate change
Climate change may threaten the health of large numbers of people. Flooding and storm surges associated with sea-level rise could increase the incidence of water-borne diseases. Opportunistic diseases could afflict those weakened by famine or malnutrition. Wide-scale disruption of communities could include psychological stress among environmental refugees. Degradation of water quality or sanitation facilities could put more pressure on public health facilities. These and other health effects are discussed in more detail in Sections 2.2.3 and 6.
2.2.2 Implications of climate change for economic activity
Owing to the complexity of developed countries and the fact that many factors largely independent of climate change employment changes, technological innovation, changes in terms of trade and currency values, and land use policies - will affect human habitat, it appears quite difficult to isolate changes which are due to global warming from other changes that might occur. Some assessments exist in the following two areas:
(i) Modification of supplies and consumption patterns
Climate change can be expected to have differential regional impacts on the supply and cost of various types of food and fibre, and on availability of water. This changing availability of resources could be reflected in changed diets, production patterns and employment levels. One study has projected that an effective CO2 doubling could produce a major water shortfall for New York City equal to 28-42% of the planned supply in the Hudson River Basin. The least expensive means of adding this capacity, it is calculated, would be a $3 billion project to skim Hudson River floodwaters into additional reservoirs (Miller, 1989).
(ii) Changes in the physical and social environment
The physical environment may be transformed as a result of direct effects of climate variability:
There is a wide number of potential indirect effects that may follow changes in climatic variability. These include:
2.2.3 Migration and resettlement
Migration and resettlement may be the most threatening short-term effects of climate change on human settlements. People may decide to migrate in any of the following cases:
In developing countries, changes in commodity prices or foreign trade practices may trigger large-scale migration. The declining demand for natural rubber reportedly caused significant migration in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia (Simmons et al., 1977).
Migration may occur following a decline in living standards or a total loss of livelihood following land degradation (itself possibly due to an earlier migration toward marginal land unable to support over-cultivation) or a major 'natural' disaster like flooding or drought. The vulnerability of human settlements to climatic events is particularly great in developing countries, where high population densities and growing urban congestion are likely to increase the sensitivity to and potential magnitude of natural disasters.
'Environmental refugees,' people displaced by degradation of land, flooding or drought, are becoming a much larger factor in many developing countries (Jacobsen, 1989; Tickell, 1989; Debrah, 1989). Even a modest rise in global sea-levels could produce tens of millions of such refugees. Population movements from blighted agricultural regions could result in areas where crop productivity may be cut by prolonged drought or temperature stress on vulnerable crops.
Resettlement itself raises considerable new problems for newcomers and possibly for local inhabitants. In cities, it places additional burdens on existing housing, medical care facilities and various essential urban services and infrastructure. From the point of view of health, migration and resettlement could cause the following situations to occur in developing countries (modified from Lee, 1985):
In economically advanced industrialised countries, migration is a likely social and cultural response of specific population groups to new physical and social environments produced by climatic change. Forced migration and resettlement would be the most severe effects of climatic change as a result of natural disaster and loss of employment.
Natural disaster (particularly flooding) is likely to occur in some areas as a result of climatic conditions. Moreover, local communities may be induced to migrate by the policy choice of no response to sea-level rise in particular areas of developed countries.
Changes in production systems may lead to industrial relocation or employment reductions. Migration may be a preferred response to threatened loss of housing or employment.
2.3 Determination of sensitivities
2.3.1 Factors enhancing sensitivity to the impacts
In developing countries, climate change should be a major cause of damages to human settlements for two reasons:
The sensitivity of developing countries to impacts on human settlement through land degradation and natural disasters is already evident in some countries: flooding in Bangladesh in 1988, monsoon failure in India in 1987, progressive desertification in Sahel countries.
Important and significant trends able to slow down or aggravate the effects of climate change on social and economic restructuring are the following:
2.3.2 Spatial and social differentiation
Climate change could translate into migration of impoverished people from rural to urban areas (developing countries), from coastal lowlands (particularly densely inhabited delta areas) to inland areas, and possibly across national boundaries.
The most vulnerable populations are those exposed to natural hazards. In 2050, habitable land could be lost for 16% in Bangladesh and 15% in Egypt. Population displaced would amount to 13% and 14%, respectively (Jacobson, 1989).
In developing countries, the most vulnerable populations are farmers engaged in subsistence agriculture, residents of coastal lowland, populations in semi-arid grassland, and the urban poor pushed back into squatter settlements, slums and shanty towns. Urban population growth is the highest in Africa, the urban population of which should double between 1980 and 2000. Population and urbanisation increases in developing countries in general will generate impacts on natural resources and the environment which are likely to increase sensitivity to climate change. Vulnerable populations should primarily be the elderly and low income households which may face higher costs for supplies, facilities and essential services.
2.4 Tasks for the near future
Some important priorities may be defined. First, reliable projections of human settlement implications of climate change should relate to specific climate models, none of which can yet provide reliable projections of likely future local climates. Improvement of the grid resolution of the GCMs would seem essential to permit correlation between likely local climate scenarios and potential impacts. Climate change impact analyses are especially scarce for Latin America which contains regions highly sensitive to climatic fluctuations associated with such phenomena as El Niño. Second, the complex linkages between urban functions likely to be affected by changed weather conditions and altered urban settlement patterns in developed countries are not well understood, and these interactions may vary considerably in different geographic areas, eg central cities, secondary cities, suburbs and rural areas. In developing countries, many largely non-climatic factors, eg improvement of agricultural management, increased urbanisation, and self-reliance, may produce very different impacts in urban and rural areas. Third, the relationship between urban, social and economic changes and climatic effects needs to be quantified. Finally, study needs for the effects on building materials and design of buildings have been described by Parly and Read (1988).
The most difficult task is to correlate analogical studies (assessment of effects from historical and geographical analogies) with the future climate change projections. This should in addition take into account the effects of policy trends (housing and social policies, energy policies etc). The need to consider the feedback of policies developed to address social and economic problems constitutes a serious difficulty in correctly assessing the expected impacts of climate change on human settlements.
This section summarises the likely effects on human health following both global warming and UV-B radiation increase.
6.1 Scope and limitations of the assessment
The study assesses acute, chronic and ecotoxicological effects of global climate change on human health (Figure 5.2).
6.2 Assessment of impacts
Global climate change may lead to change directly in morbidity and mortality through global warming and through UV-B radiation increase. Global climate change is likely to affect the ecosystem and alter the human hazards such as parasites and chemical pollutants and also affect human health by producing changes in air quality and water quality.
6.2.1 General climate effect
Human beings have the potential to adapt to climate change not only by physiological, but also by social and cultural adaptive measures, such as hygiene practices, medicine and agricultural traditions. Owing to these abilities of adaptation, human beings can live throughout the world. Therefore, it is necessary to study the capacity for adaptation to extreme climate.
Among major causes of mortality, cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, hypertensive heart disease, and cancer, are influenced by a variety of environmental factors including climate, urbanisation, social environment and life styles. In the economically developed countries, these diseases cause over two-thirds of total mortality. The time trends of incidence of death may be related to change of environmental factors, such as life styles and urbanisation.
In temperate and cooler regions, seasonal trends of the mortality of cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and hypertensive heart diseases indicate a winter maximum and summer minimum (Momiyama and Katayama, 1972). Cancer trends, however, are not seasonal. The seasonal trends of major causes of death have changed. For example, there has been a deseasonalisation of infant mortality in Japan. Global warming may change the environmental factors and affect the time trends and seasonality of these diseases in many countries.
The effect of global climate change on human health may also be detected most sensitively in changes of some seasonally changing biological phenomena. Birth seasonality, one of the most distinct seasonal phenomena in human reproductive physiology, may be affected by global warming (Miura, 1987).
Hypothermia, which is caused by exposure to extreme cold in winter, also shows seasonality. Accidental hypothermia of the aged was often discovered in the morning because of defective heating systems. As a result of global warming, the incidence of accidental hypothermia of the aged may be reduced (Iriki and Tanaka, 1987).
6.2.2 Heat stress
In recent years, cardiovascular mortality has increased in many industrialised and developing countries (United Nations, 1986). Since heat conservation and loss by the human body are primarily controlled by the cardiovascular system, cardiovascular diseases may increase during heat stress (Weihe, 1985).
Heatwaves may be associated with increases in morbidity and mortality (Longstreth, 1989; Schuman, 1972; Marmor, 1978). Threshold temperatures for heat stress are relative rather than absolute. The higher summer threshold temperatures are observed in the hot climate regions while the lower are found in cool climates.
While deaths of infants under the age of one were not examined, the categories which appeared most sensitive to weather are total deaths and elderly deaths (greater than 65 years old). For the total deaths in summer, the most important factors influencing mortality are the accumulation of degree hours above the threshold temperature each day and their time occurrence. Early heat waves in summer are more likely to have effects than those late in the season (Kalkstein, 1989). Correlation analysis between mortality and weather conditions in the US and Japan shows that mortality from several causes of death was also closely associated with air temperature (Kalkstein, 1989; Makino, 1987).
6.2.3 Air pollution
Global warming and elevation of UV-B radiation would accelerate photochemical reaction rates among chemical pollutants in the atmosphere, causing increased oxidants in many urban areas. In summer, high concentrations of oxidants are observed around many large cities throughout the world, frequently in excess of health-based ambient standards. Global warming may increase ozone concentrations in urban areas and spread the polluted areas even further, thereby increasing the health risk already posed to persons in those areas.
The main pollutants caused by photochemical reactions are ozone, oxides of nitrogen, aldehydes, peroxyacetyl nitrates, and propylene glycol nitrates. Evidence exists to associate the photochemical oxidants with adverse effects on human health (Schneider et al., 1989). The diseases that fall into this category are inflammatory disease of the eye, acute non-specific upper respiratory disease, chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive ventilatory disease, pulmonary emphysema, and bronchial asthma. Moreover, it is reported that ozone modifies lung tumour formation (Hassett et al., 1985; Last et al., 1987).
Many organic carcinogens are also common in the urban air. Since some of these chemicals are produced or decomposed by chemical reaction in the air, the concentration of these pollutants may be affected by global warming and UV-B radiation increase.
6.2.4 Chemical pollution
Global warming has potential impacts on crop yields and productivity. Since crop production is sensitive to water supply and plant pests, crop yields could change water supply and pest control management. Global warming may modify the incidence of plant pests and hazardous insect population. Changes in water supply could affect the agrochemical leaching from farms and degrade surface and groundwater quality in many areas.
Many types of pesticides are used to control plant pests and parasites. Since temperature increase may accelerate the volatilisation of many organic chemicals, the atmospheric transport of the chemicals may accelerate (Bidelman et al., 1981; Rapaport et al., 1985; Rovinsky et al., 1982; Tanabe et al., 1982). High temperature and elevation of UV-B radiation may accelerate the chemical reaction of organic pollutants in the atmosphere and the degradation rate of the chemicals. Therefore, global warming could influence the concentration of many organic pollutants in the environment thereby resulting in a change of human exposure (Ando et al., 1985).
6.2.5 Water quality and quantity
Global warming may change the timing and amount of precipitation in various countries. In the regions with less precipitation, salt concentrations in water may increase greatly. High salt concentration in water and reduction of water supply may directly affect the health of people in that area. If global warming reduces the precipitation, food production could decrease significantly (US EPA, 1988). Sometimes, the low food supply will increase famine and malnutrition in developing countries with potentially large consequences for human mortality. On the other hand, heavy rain also could decrease water quality. Sometimes, frequent flooding has threatened the health of people in developing countries, directly or indirectly. Permafrost degradation may cause leaching from disposed wastes, resulting in contamination of the groundwater. If global warming worsens the water quality or increases inundation, diarrhoea, cholera and dysentery epidemics could spread in developing countries and in the subarctic area.
6.2.6 Vector-borne diseases
Global warming may modify the incidence and/or distribution of vector-borne disease. If global warming changes rainfall and temperature, the seasonal and geographical abundance of the major vector species, such as mosquitoes, could change. In the Northern Hemisphere, these vector-borne diseases could move northward and in the Southern Hemisphere southward.
Some infectious diseases are well known to show apparent seasonal changes and would seem to be very sensitive to global warming. Japanese encephalitis and some other viral diseases are regulated by some seasonal factors. Therefore, an improvement of the environment may be necessary to prevent the breeding of vector species.
In tropical regions, vector-borne diseases have important impacts on morbidity and mortality. In 1988 malaria and schistosomiasis posed potential risks to 2100 and 600 million people, respectively. If global warming increases the precipitation in tropical and subtropical areas, many diseases may further threaten human health. Parasitic and viral diseases, such as malaria, schistosomiasis and dengue have the potential for increase and reintroduction in many countries (WHO, 1990; Dobson and Carper, 1989).
6.2.7 Ultraviolet-B radiation
UV-B radiation has many damaging effects on human health, such as skin cancer, cataract and snow blindness (Hiller et al., 1983). UV-B radiation also suppresses the immune defences against certain infections and tumours initiated in the skin.
There are two main types of nonmelanoma skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, which have a convincing and clear-cut relationship to UV-B radiation (Blum et al., 1941; Blum 1959). Malignant melanoma is also at least partially caused by exposure to UV-B radiation. It has been recognised that the incidence of skin cancer including melanoma increases from high to low latitudes possibly due to the increase of UV-B radiation. In this connection, account must be taken of the changes that have occurred in recreational behaviour and people's willingness to expose themselves to the sun.
While it is difficult to estimate numerical effect on the basis of epidemiologic data in the US (US EPA, 1987), UNEP (1989) and WHO (1989) estimated that for every 1% decrease in stratospheric ozone, there will be between a 0.3% to 0.6% increase in cataracts. Based on the same epidemiologic date, it was also estimated that for every 1% depletion of ozone the incidence of basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma, will increase 2.7%, 4.6% and 0.6%, respectively. There is concern that UV-B radiation, suppression of the immune system might lead to an increase of the incidence and severity of infectious diseases. It is necessary to confirm the incidence rate of skin cancer in various countries in relation to UV-B dose. Data on UV-B exposure dose is extremely limited.
6.3 Determination of sensitivities
6.3.1 General climate effect
Global warming may affect the seasonality of many causes of death. The seasonal variation of mortality also changes sharply according to the improvement of the environment and the socioeconomic condition of countries.
6.3.2 Heat stress
Global warming is likely to induce mortality increase during heat waves in summer. On the other hand, winter mortality may decrease. In general, weather-induced deaths are more important in summer than in winter. Artificial heating and cooling, when affordable, may reduce deaths from heat and cold.
The less resilient population - the poor, the disabled, the sick and the aged - are at greater risk.
6.3.3 Air pollution
Global warming and increased UV-B radiation would both accelerate the photochemical reaction rates among chemical pollutants and increase ozone concentration in urban areas. Ozone and other photochemical oxidants may be associated with many respiratory diseases and cancer.
6.3.4 Chemical pollution
Global warming may result in an increase of pesticide use in agriculture, and accelerate the volatilisation and atmospheric transport of many organic pollutants in global ecosystems.
6.3.5 Water quality
As global warming could change the precipitation, water quality may be affected greatly. High salt concentration and less water supply may threaten the drier land through impaired drinking water and food production. On the other hand, heavy rain will cause floods and spread water-borne diseases.
6.3.6 Vector-borne diseases
Since global warming changes rainfall and temperature, distribution and abundance of many vector species should change. Some infectious diseases including parasitic and viral diseases, such as malaria, schistosomiasis and dengue have the potential to increase in many countries, especially tropical and subtropical areas.
6.3.7 UV-B radiation
Since build-up of CFCs in the stratosphere may lead to stratospheric ozone depletion and increase UV-B radiation, a number of diseases of the eyes and skin, such as cataract, non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancer, may increase.
6.4 Tasks for the near future
The following research would be necessary:
6.4.1 General climate effect
(i) The effect of global warming on seasonal trends of major causes of morbidity and mortality;
(ii) The assessment of the incidence of major causes of death in industrialised and developing countries in the future.
6.4.2 Temperature stress
(i) The effect of global warming on heat and cold wave episodes;
(ii) Methods of decreasing mortality among high-risk groups;
(iii) The assessment of capacity of adaptation to hot and cold weather, especially among vulnerable population groups such as the elderly.
6.4.3 Air pollution
(i) The effect of global climate change on oxidants and organic carcinogens in the atmosphere;
(ii) Exposure assessment of these air pollutants;
(iii) The incidence of respiratory disease and lung cancer in polluted and nonpolluted areas.
6.4.4 Chemical pollution
(i) The effect of global warming on the worldwide chemical pollution;
(ii) Human exposure to these chemical pollutants;
(iii) The incidence of morbidity and mortality in acutely or chronically exposed populations.
6.4.5 Water quality
(i) The effect of global warming on the precipitation in various countries;
(ii) The assessment of hygienic quality of water resources in the world.
6.4.6 Vector-borne diseases
(i) The effect of global warming on geographical abundance of major vector species;
(ii) The assessment of incidence of vector-borne diseases in the future;
(iii) The improvement of the environment to prevent the breeding of vector species.
6.4.7 UV-B radiation
(i) The assessment of the elevation of UV-B radiation according to ozone depletion in order to determine the dose received;
(ii) Epidemiological association of the rise of incidence of cataracts, nonmelanoma and melanoma skin cancer and an increase of UV-B radiation in many countries.
(iii) The risk evaluation of immune suppression by UV-B radiation increase on vaccination and infectious diseases.
This section summarises the effects of UV-B radiation, resulting from the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer, upon ecosystems, air quality and materials.
8.1 Scope and limitations of the assessment
(See Figure 5.4)
This section discusses the potential influence of the greenhouse effect upon stratospheric ozone depletion. The potential impacts of UV-B radiation arising from the ozone depletion on terrestrial vegetation, marine organisms, air quality and materials are also analysed. The UV-B impact upon human health has been described in the section on health. However, the lack of data on the dose received of UV-B hinders a quantitative assessment of impacts.
8.2 Assessment of impacts
It is expected that the depletion of the ozone column due to anthropogenic activities increases UV-B radiation. The UV-B range of the solar spectrum is defined as wavelengths from 290 to 320 nanometres (nm). On the other hand, the greenhouse effect-induced global warming will, some scientists believe, decrease stratospheric temperature and may suppress the ozone depletion (Manabe and Wetherald, 1967).
Investigations have shown that UV-B radiation has a multitude of effects on humans, terrestrial vegetation, marine organisms, air quality and materials; most of these effects are damaging (WHO, 1989). However, no exact measurements on the relationship between UV-B intensity near the ground and the amount of ozone in the stratosphere and troposphere has been established.
Research into the potential impacts of an increase in solar UV-B radiation to plants has centered on the effects on plant growth and physiology under artificial UV-B irradiation supplied to plants in growth chambers or greenhouses.
Overall, the effective UV-B varies both among species and among cultivars of a given species. Sensitive cultivars of soybean, wheat, oat, cucumber, sunflower etc, often exhibit reduced growth, photosynthetic activity, pollination, germination and flowering. Photosynthetic activity may be reduced and photosynthetic pigments are also affected by UV-B (Tevini and Teramura, 1989).
Increases in UV-B radiation reduce yield in certain agricultural crops. Many soybean cultivars are sensitive to increased UV-B radiation. The crop quality may be reduced under increased levels of UV-B radiation. Reduced quality has been noted in certain cultivars of tomato, potato, sugar beets and soybean (Tevini and Teramura, 1989).
Although only limited information exists, gymnosperms also appear to be sensitive to UV-B radiation (Sullivan and Teramura, 1988).
Water stress in combination with UV-B adversely affected water loss in cucumber cotyledons (Takeuchi and Hayashida, 1987).
Increased solar UV-B radiation could reduce the productivity of the phytoplankton, with dramatic effects both for intricate marine ecosystems. Any reduction of this marine productivity will undoubtedly affect global food supply (Damkaer, 1987).
Recent studies have shown that UV-B impairs motility in a number of micro-micro-organisms; any decrease in orientation of motile phytoplankton prevents the necessary constant adaptation to the changing environmental conditions and possibly hazardous situations (Hader and Hader, 1988a, 1988b and 1989).
UV-B radiation also affects growth and the rhythm of many microorganisms (Worrest, 1982). Studies have also found that UV-B radiation drastically affects nitrogen fixation and thus the growth and productivity of higher plants in a number of important phytoplankton species (Dohler et al., 1985). Various experiments have demonstrated that UV-B radiation causes damage to fish larvae and juveniles, shrimp larvae, crab larvae, copepods, and plants essential to the marine food web (US EPA, 1987). There is also evidence that an increase in UV-B could diminish the growing season of invertebrate zooplankton populations (Damkaer et al., 1980).
The effect of increased UV-B on the air quality of remote areas should be a decrease in the already low surface ozone concentrations (Liu and Trainer, 1988). Results from several modelling studies and one chamber study suggested that increased UV-B radiation from ozone depletion may increase the rate of urban ozone formation (Whitten and Gery, 1986; Gery et al., 1987; Morris et al., 1988). Preliminary results from the modelling studies also suggested that large increases in hydrogen peroxide would result from increased UV-B radiation. One study has shown that hydrogen peroxide increases can produce increases in the formation of acid precipitation.
Higher levels of short wavelength radiation below 295 nm will lead to a significant acceleration of light-induced degradation processes of plastics and other coatings used outdoors.
8.3 Determination of sensitivities
One soybean cultivar showed a yield loss of up to 25% following exposure to UV-B radiation simulating a 5% ozone reduction (Tevini and Teramura, 1989).
In one study involving anchovy larvae, a 20% increase of UV-B radiation resulted in the death of about 8% of the annual larval population (Hunter et al., 1982).
Based on one assessment (using the relationship that fisheries yield increases as productivity is raised to the 1.55 power), a 5% decrease in primary production (estimated for a 16% ozone depletion) would yield reductions in fish yield of approximately 6% to 9%.
A 10% decrease in phytoplankton biomass equals 1014 kg and leaves the same amount of CO2 in the atmosphere as annual fossil-fuel burning (5Gt) (Hader, 1980).
8.4 Study tasks for the near future
8.4.1 UV-B radiation
Trends of UV-B radiation should be studied and correlated to ozone trends.
More detailed measurements of the wavelength dependence of UV-B radiation should be made.
Efforts should be made to improve the standardising of instrumentation and calibrations of UV measurement.
8.4.2 Terrestrial plants
The number of field experiments for impacts of UV-B on agriculture should be increased.
Studies must be initiated to determine the impacts of UV-B to natural ecosystems.
UV-B effects on growth and reproductive cycles of lower plants, such as mosses, fungi and ferns, have yet to be studied.
Increase the effort taken to obtain a better understanding of the effects of multiple stresses and of shifts in competitive balance when plants are given additional UV-B.
An area of worldwide interest may be tropical rice-growing regions, where information is limited on how rice will be affected either under enhanced UV-B or under increased temperature and CO2
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