American Journal of Environmental Sciences

Climate Change Adaptation in Acid Sulfate Landscapes

Chuxia Lin

DOI : 10.3844/ajessp.2012.433.442

American Journal of Environmental Sciences

Volume 8, Issue 4

Pages 433-442

Abstract

Oxidation of sulfide minerals produces sulfuric acid and consequently creates Acid Sulfate Landscapes (ASLs), which represent one of the most degraded types of land-surface environments. Although acid sulfate-producing weathering is a naturally occurring process, it is markedly facilitated by human intervention. Mining is by far the dominant anthropogenic cause for the creation of inland acid sulfate footprints while land reclamation in coastal lowlands is the driver for the formation of coastal ASLs. The projected climate change highlights the possibility of an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events such as droughts and heavy rains, which is likely to accelerate the acid generation in some circumstances and increase the frequency and magnitude of acid discharge. Sea level rise as a result of global warming will cause additional problems with the coastal ASLs. This is a review article. The following aspects are covered: (a) the overriding biogeochemical processes leading to acid sulfate-producing weathering, (b) a brief introduction to the inland acid sulfate landscapes, (c) a brief introduction to the coastal acid sulfate landscapes, (d) the likely impacts of climate change on ASLs and (e) the possible measures to combat climate change-induced environmental degradation in the identified key acid sulfate footprints. The projected climate change is like to significantly affect the acid sulfate landscapes in different ways. Appropriate management strategies and cost-effective technologies need to be developed in order to minimize the climate change-induced ecological degradation.

Copyright

© 2012 Chuxia Lin. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.