Disaster Advances

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Potential of increasing intensity of tropical cyclones due to sea surface temperature and impact on coral reefs in the context of climate change

Hung N.D., Thuy L.T.H., Hang T.V. and Luan T.N.

Disaster Advances; Vol. 14(9); 1-7; doi: https://doi.org/10.25303/149da0107; (2021)

The coral reef ecosystem in Cu Lao Cham, Vietnam is part of the central zone of the Cu Lao Cham -Hoi An, a biosphere reserve and it is strictly protected. However, the impacts of natural disasters - tropical cyclones (TCs) go beyond human protection. The characteristic feature of TCs is strong winds and the consequences of strong winds are high waves. High waves caused by strong TCs (i.e. level 13 or more) cause decline in coral cover in the seas around Cu Lao Cham.

Based on the relationship between sea surface temperature (SST) and the maximum potential intensity (MPI) of TCs, this research determines the number of strong TCs in Cu Lao Cham in the future. Using results from a regional climate change model, the risk is that the number of strong TCs in the period 2021-2060 under the RCP4.5 scenario, will be 3.7 times greater than in the period 1980-2019 and under the RCP 8.5 scenario it will be 5.2 times greater than in the period 1980-2019. We conclude that increases in SST in the context of climate change risks will increase the number and intensity of TCs and so the risk of their mechanical impact on coral reefs will be higher leading to degradation of this internationally important site.