Manifestations of a changing climate are already observed in the Philippines. Limited available local data show that increasing trends in sea level rise (SLR), sea surface temperature (SST), and extreme event occurrences are consistent with the increasing global trends. Satellite observations from 1993 to 2015, for example, reveal that the SLR in the Philippines has increased by about twice the global average. In addition, coastal tide gauge records around the country indicate generally increasing sea levels over the past 50 years (Met Office, 2016). The lack of localized information and local communities’ understanding on SLR, increasing sea surface temperature (ISST), and ocean acidification (OA) brought about by climate change and their impacts on coastal and small island communities have constrained policy and decision makers, planners, and development agents in formulating and effectively implementing policies and measures to adapt to and mitigate the negative consequences of climate change.
The Visayas State University (VSU), through its Regional Climate Change Research and Development Center, in partnership with the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), and with funding support from CordAid, conducted this research in recognition of the fact that climate change must be fully understood through the generation of science-based evidence prior to the development of interventions for adaptation and mitigation toward building a high level of resilience among vulnerable communities. The initiative is ICSC’s continuing advocacy to increase the awareness of communities, particularly vulnerable ones, of climate change and its implication for development policy. This study was aimed at examining the occurrence and impacts of slow-onset events (SOEs) of SLR, ISST, and OA in the coastal areas and small island ecosystems of Guiuan, Eastern Samar in Eastern Visayas and Santa Fe, Bantayan Island, Cebu in Central Visayas. The study also sought to validate the information generated and projections made on the basis of satellite observations using the localized data gathered through actual ground measurements. The findings of the study are expected to serve as a useful basis in providing actionable local policy recommendations and measures to reduce the negative impacts of SOEs on vulnerable coastal and small island communities.