The Republic of Mauritius, being vulnerable to impacts of climate change, is highly dedicated to systematic observation of climate data and has shown keen interest in related research. It is to be noted that the first climate observation in this part of the world was made in Mauritius in 1774. As a result, a broad understanding of climate processes over and around Mauritius has emerged.
Local scientists are actively participating in international activities to fullfill the commitments of the country towards the implementation of the Climate Change Convention and related programmes. Mauritius is fully involved in the activities of the following bodies:
DATA COLLECTION AND SYSTEMATIC OBSERVATION
Mauritius maintains a network of meteorological stations in the region. Observations are also received from ships, aircraft and drifting buoys. Other climatological observations are also made in the private sector on a voluntary basis. The National Meteorological Services maintain a well-organized data bank, which is easily accessible for research purposes.
An extensive network of hydrometric observations exists to monitor closely water resources and requirements.
A well-established system to record and analyse variations in crop productivity in relation to microclimates exists.
Variations in sea level are monitored from data collected at two stations, one in Mauritius and the other in Rodrigues. Observations on waves and sea surface temperature are made regularly. Seawater quality and the state of the reefs are also monitored.
The Central Statistical Office is responsible for
keeping a data bank on socio-economic sectors. Monthly records of all disease
occurrences are also kept.
The following institutions are involved in research on climate change issues:
Research have been under way for some time and is continuing on the following aspects:
approach was used by the Mauritius Sugar Industry Research Institute to
assess the vulnerability of the sugar cane crop to climate change without
catering for CO2 fertilization effects. The calibrated model
was run for different sites to choose one representative of the island’s
productivity. Four GCM outputs for the region with different combinations
of rainfall and temperature increments were used with daily meteorological
data of the chosen site to create the scenarios.
The study revealed within its limits than sugar production was very vulnerable to climate changes. Production decreased by 32-57% with the GCM scenarios and from 3-81% with the incremental scenarios. The reductions resulted mainly from lower water use efficiencies and more than 20% rainfall was needed to offset a 2°C rise in temperature.
|A new technique
called Aerial videotape–assisted vulnerabiltiy analysis (AVVA), as recommended
by the US country studies programme, has been used to prepare maps of the
coatal geomorphology of Mauritius. It involves videotaping the coastline
from a small plane at very low elevation. The AVVA approach is a quick,
useful and cost effective tool for determining the impact of sea-level
rise on coastal resources. The technique uses detailed field data to identify
land and infrastructure that are at risk and determine adaptation measures.
The coastline of Mauritius has been
videotaped from a helicopter flying obliquely at an elevation of 30 to
50 m. The video film has been analysed and using the method provided on
the Guideline for Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment on coastal classification
geomorphology (types of beaches and coastal low use) has been prepared.
|Three adaptive options, namely irrigation,
a change in variety type and a change in harvest date were evaluated using
the modelling approach under GCM scenarios.
The adoption of irrigation mitigated
all impacts of climate change while a change in harvest date had no effect
under the present production system. However, there could be beneficial
production with the combination of irrigation adoption and a change in
harvest date. The change in varieties showed that the genetic potential
exists but will have to be incorporated in new varieties to tolerate changes.
Additional amounts of water needed for the adoption of irrigation, will range from 319 to 396 Mm3 according to the different GCM scenarios. Hydrologically, this will be possible but will be very costly in terms of extension of infrastructure and additional water storage capacity.
Four Profiles on the western coast at Flic-Flac, were surveyed and changes in the shoreline between 1975 and 1996 were estimated, using aerial photographs and site survey in 1996.
More comprehensive research is required on the following:
Proper data organization is vital to address
climate change issues. The present set up does not fulfill these requirements
and there is a need to centralize all climate change related data. The
location of such an important data bank should rest with the Central Statistical
There is an urgent need for training so
as to enable the adoption of the appropriate approach for research.