Local September 13, 2013 | 10:04 am

More rains make Dominican, Haiti lakes rise, experts tell AP

Santo Domingo.- Higher temperatures in the Caribbean from climate change have contributed to increased levels at five lakes in Haiti and Dominican Republic , harming farms and thousands of families, AP reports.

Jose E. Gonzalez, professor of mechanical engineering at City College of New York, told The Associated Press that a two-year study confirmed that the water comes from the surrounding mountains, after rains caused by the clouds from a hotter sea. "We are at an unprecedented level."

Researchers from New York University and Intec University in Dominican Republic, supported by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), began study in 2011 to find the reason behind the rapid rise of the level of Enriquillo and Azuei lakes, the Caribbean’s two largest isolated bodies of water, and below sea level, located on the Dominican Republic-Haiti southwest border.

The lakes’ continued rise since 2004 and accelerated since 2008 forced the abandonment of various towns in both countries, uprooted hundreds of people and flooded thousands of hectares of farmland with economic losses yet to be tallied.

Enriquillo Lake, located 250 kilometers west of Santo Domingo, has risen six meters, from 40 to 34 meters below sea level and has inundated some 150 square kilometers of fertile lands and pastures.

Lake Azuei, most of which is located in Haiti, is now flooding the only road to Port au Prince from the border, hurting trade. To mitigate the effects , the Dominican government ?? began construction of several infrastructure projects in July and relocated the entire village of Boca de Cachon to higher ground, after Enriquillo washed out its only road.

González said for the first time sensors in the area detected an increase in run-off from the mountains to the lakes and the ensuing decrease in its once hyper-saline water. Enriquillo’s volume has tripled since 2004, while Azuei’s has doubled, the specialist said.

Researchers also found that Cabral lake in Dominican Republic , and Caiman and Miragoâne , in Haiti and other smaller ones have also increased levels.

U.S. researcher Daniel Comarazamy added in recent years increased rainfall "has been significant as a result of climate change."

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