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Coastal fishers’ livelihood in peril: sea surface temperature and tropical cyclones in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is one of the most disaster prone countries in the world, where more than 3.5 million coastal peoples’ livelihoods depend directly or indirectly on fishing and related activities under extremely difficult conditions. Economic hardship is likely to be aggravated by climate change and its various effects. This study examines the probable linkage of the changing regimes in sea surface temperature, tropical cyclones and related climatic hazards with the declining livelihoods of the coastal fishers. The paper is organised into two sections: the first documents the sea surface temperature and tropical cyclones in the Bay of Bengal based on analysis of available climatic data between 1985 and 2009; and the second documents fishers’ own experience and perceptions of the changing climate based on analysis of survey data from ten coastal areas of Bangladesh.