Rising seas, sinking cities

March 09, 2017 12:00 am | Updated 03:32 am IST

The ancient city of Venice will disappear in 100 years, finds a new study

A new climate change report on Mediterranean Sea has predicted that the iconic city of Venice will be completely submerged due to rising sea level within a century. The Italian city is built on an archipelago of 117 islands. The report forecast that the sea may rise up to five feet before 2100. It could swamp a 176-mile long coastline in the north Adriatic and parts of west Italy.

Global warming which is accelerating the phenomenon pose a serious threat to people living in the coastal region all over the world. The current report claimed up to 5,500 sq km of coastal plains will be flooded before 2100.

A climate map in 2015 put the number as 627 million people. It included major population from top cities like Tokyo, New York, Shanghai and Kolkata.

What causes sea level to rise?

Sea Level Rise is an indicator of climate change and the primary cause is global warming. Oceans observe 80 per cent of the heat added to the atmosphere. As the sea water warms, it expands in volume. The melting of land ice (glaciers, ice caps, and ice sheets) due to increase in Earth’s surface temperature, also contribute to the rise.

The coastal settlements will be the first to get affected. Even a small increase can have a destructive effect on the habitats. Sea level rise cause erosion and push salty water upstream in coastal areas. Coastal flooding will grow more frequent and damaging. Low-lying islands will be at the risk of getting submerged completely and storms can get powerful. All these can ultimately lead to displacement of thousands of people and loss of livelihood.

  • Ten of the cities that World Bank has listed as most threatened are Miami, New York, New Orleans, Tampa, and Boston, (all in the U.S.), Guangzhou and Shenzhen (China), Nagoya and Osaka (Japan) and Mumbai.

  • In 2016, scientists identified 414 towns and cities in the United States that are guaranteed to eventually be underwater, regardless of how much humans decrease their carbon emissions.

  • According to a study, the oceans will continue to rise, given the current rate of warming, and it could be anywhere between 2.5 and 6.5 feet by 2100.

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