Scorching of plants in coastal areas due to salt spray: report

Thursday, Jul 2, 2015,21:07 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Kochi | The scorching of plants reported during this monsoon season from various parts of Kerala coast is caused by salt spray, according to a study. In an interim report, scientists of Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS) who tested the sea water, soil and plants collected from the affected areas have ruled out any chances of heat burst in Kerala’s coastal belt.
Environment has low temperature during the monsoon season. Heat bursts are local with a maximum of three km stretch and is very rare. Since this phenomenon happened all along the coast of the state, we rule out the possibilities of heat burst, Prof S Suresh Kumar said who is the head of the committee comprising oceanographers, geologists, meteorologists, biologists and chemists.
The report pointed out that salt nucleus formed from the salt spray due to strong wind caused wilting of plants. There is high chance of salt spray. Aerosols with high salt content will be formed by the action of wind on wave surfing. Intermittent rain and sun during this monsoon may have aggravated the situation, the report said. Scientists also observed that the phenomenon was a gradual process and people came to know about this only at a later stage.
Local enquiry confirmed the occurrence of similar phenomena for the last several years during AugustSeptember period, but this year it happened earlier in June, claimed the scientists. This is more likely to be an oceanic process and it should be studied in detail with reference to atmospheric, oceanographic and chemical aspects, said Dr B Madhusoodana Kurup, Vice Chancellor of KUFOS.
KUFOS expert committee would conduct a detailed survey on oceanographic aspects such as Sea Surface Temperature, sea level rise, variations in tides all along the Kerala coast in long term manner in order to study the impact of climate change and associated phenomena, the Vice Chancellor said.
Besides Dr S Suresh Kumar, the expert committee includes Dr C V K Prasad Rao, Dr S Rajendran, N N Raman, Dr K Ranjeet, Dr Anu Gopinath,  Dr S M Raffi and Dr Benny N Peter.