‘Seas will rise for centuries to come’

Nine of the 10 mega-cities at highest risk are in Asia, warn researchers

Published - October 12, 2021 10:51 pm IST - Paris

Cause and effect:  Melting ice sheets and heat trapped in the oceans will contribute to the rising water level.

Cause and effect: Melting ice sheets and heat trapped in the oceans will contribute to the rising water level.

Even if humanity beats the odds and caps global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, seas will rise for centuries to come and swamp cities currently home to half-a-billion people, researchers warned Tuesday.

In a world that heats up another half-degree above that benchmark, an additional 200 million of today’s urban dwellers would regularly find themselves knee-deep in sea water and more vulnerable to devastating storm surges, they reported in Environmental Research Letters.

Worst hit in any scenario will be Asia, which accounts for nine of the 10 mega-cities at highest risk.

Land home to more than half the populations of Bangladesh and Vietnam fall below the long-term high tide line, in a world with even a 2 degrees Celsius rise. Built-up areas in China, India and Indonesia would also face devastation.

Most projections for sea level rise run to the end of the century. But oceans will continue to swell for hundreds of years beyond 2100 — fed by melting ice sheets, heat trapped in the ocean and the dynamics of warming water — no matter how aggressively greenhouse gas emissions are drawn down.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.