New research shows that earlier researches were too optimistic – rising sea levels will submerge major coastal cities on earth by 2050.
- New research shows that more cities will be submerged underwater by 2050 due to the rising level of seas globally.
- The regions at high risk of disappearance currently house more than 300 million people around global coastlines.
- Great cities at risk include Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City, Thailand’s Bangkok, China’s Shanghai, India’s Mumbai and Iraq’s Basra.
- The loss of significant land to rising seas will disrupt the socio-economic order globally and drive political instability.
A new report has trumped all previous studies in terms of the pending catastrophe in 2050. Rising sea levels globally due to climate change could impact thrice the number of people that earlier estimated. The new report observes an impending threat to all of the world’s coastlines. Furthermore, it could prove apocalyptic to many great coastal cities.
The new report by Climate Central, a science organization based in New Jersey, and published in the journal Nature Communications banks on a more accurate way of calculation of land elevation. The data is based on satellite findings, a standard way of estimating the impact of rising sea levels over large regions. The study found that around 300 million people live on the land which is predicted to go below the high-tide line by 2050.
Great Cities on the verge of submersion
Among major areas at risk, Southern Vietnam could completely disappear. Almost a quarter or 20 million of the Vietnamese population lives on land that could be underwater by 2050. Similarly, Vietnam’s capital and economic hub Ho Chi Minh City could be out of sight.
In China, Asia’s biggest economic hub Shanghai could also be entirely underwater along with a number of its satellite cities. Furthermore, India’s financial capital Mumbai, which is built on seven islands, could be totally wiped out. Other cities at great risk due to the rising seas are Iraq’s Basra and the great historic and cultural city of Alexandria founded by Alexander the Great around 330 B.C. in Egypt.
Likewise, 10 percent of Thailand’s total population is on land up for submersion. The earlier studies observed that the threat affected just 1 percent of the population. The regions include Thailand’s capital Bangkok.
Climate Change will impact cities in more than one way
As per Loretta Hieber Girardet, a Bangkok resident and UN disaster risk-reduction official, the effects of climate change also puts global cities at multiple risks. While global warming floods major coastal hubs, it will make the majority of land unfit for cultivation. This will force impoverished farmers to leave their land to move to cities for livelihood.
Climate Change is not an environmental issue but a humanitarian and security problem for societies at large.
Moreover, the loss of significant land to rising seas will disrupt the socio-economic order globally. Climate change will drive further social and political instability and thus fuel armed conflicts and terrorism, as per General Castellaw, Center for Climate and Security, a research and advocacy group in Washington.
Can the catastrophe be prevented?
While the findings of the new study are alarming, it doesn’t necessarily spell doom for the low-lying coastal regions. As per new data, 110 million people live in such coastal areas below the high tide line. However, they are tackling the rising sea levels with protective measures like seawalls and other barriers. As per Strauss, one of the scientists, global cities also need to invest in such protective measures for their coastal population quickly.
However, these preventive measures are unlikely to deter destruction when faced with a calamity of high magnitude. New Orleans which lies below sea level has extensive levees and protection barriers that failed in 2005 when the city was gripped by Hurricane Katrina.
To prevent loss of life when calamities hit, governments around the globe need to chalk out strategies to relocate citizens internally and away from high-risk coastal areas.
- Although global warming is causing more floods, it is also pushing poor farmers off their land towards cities in search of work.
- Currently, 110 million people live in coastal areas below the high tide line with protectionists measures like seawalls and barriers.
- However, these measures are unlikely to deter a calamity of high magnitude, as seen with New Orleans in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina.
- Thus, Governments around the globe need to chalk out strategies to relocate citizens internally and away from high-risk coastal areas.