The world’s rising sea levels, fuelled by global warming, are posing an increasing threat to cities and communities on coastlines globally. The height of the sea has already increased by eight inches in the past century, and it is predicted it could increase by up to six feet by the end of this century. As coastal communities flood, the water also contaminates the freshwater, making it unavailable for drinking and irrigation. Several cities worldwide are at risk of disappearing underwater unless the issue of the submergence of these coastal areas is addressed.
Research shows rising sea levels threaten coastal landmasses
The rising sea levels due to global warming is becoming a significant concern for the coastal dwellers worldwide. According to the climate studies, the sea levels have risen by about 8 inches in a century and could rise to even 6 feet by the end of the century. Consequently, several coastal cities and communities are at great risk of submergence in the future. In this article, we will explain why this happens and how rising sea levels can threaten coastal landmasses.
Why are sea levels rising?
Sea levels have been rising for the past century and are predicted to continue rising in the future due to global warming. The primary factors that contribute to sea level rise include the melting of glaciers and ice sheets and the thermal expansion of the oceans. As global temperatures continue to rise, ice sheets and glaciers melt, causing more water to pour into the oceans, which causes sea levels to rise. Similarly, the oceans tend to expand as they absorb heat from the atmosphere, and this also contributes to the rising sea levels. These factors, combined with human activities such as emissions from industrial and vehicular activities, are driving the accelerating trend of sea level rise.
How rising sea levels threaten coastal landmasses
Flooding is the most significant threat to coastal landmasses from rising sea levels. The higher sea levels mean that the water from the ocean, such as waves and tides, can reach farther inland, flooding low-lying coastal areas, including urban and agricultural land, and damaging infrastructure. Coastal erosion is another significant issue that can be detrimental to landmasses. With the rising sea levels, there is an increase in the intensity and frequency of storm events, which can cause significant coastal erosion to landmasses, destabilizing them and increasing the risk of cliff collapses. Moreover, rising sea levels can cause the saltwater to seep into coastal aquifers, polluting freshwater, and reducing its availability for drinking and irrigation.
Coastal cities at risk of submergence
Several coastal cities and communities worldwide are highly vulnerable to sea level rise. In the United States, cities such as Miami, New York, and New Orleans are among the cities at risk of submergence. Other cities in Europe, Asia, and Africa, such as Shanghai, Bangkok, and Lagos, are states that are highly vulnerable to the impacts of rising sea levels. Further, it is not only the cities that are at risk, with rising sea levels, several island nations risk disappearing altogether under the water.
1. What causes sea levels to rise?
The primary factors that contribute to sea level rise include the melting of glaciers and ice sheets and the thermal expansion of the oceans.
2. How do rising sea levels threaten coastal landmasses?
Rising sea levels can lead to flooding, coastal erosion, and the contamination of freshwater from saltwater intrusion.
3. What cities are at risk of submergence due to rising sea levels?
Several coastal cities, including Miami, New York, and New Orleans in the United States, and cities such as Shanghai, Bangkok, and Lagos worldwide, are highly vulnerable to the impacts of rising sea levels.
The rising sea levels are a growing concern for coastal cities and communities worldwide. Coastal landmasses are at great risk of flooding, coastal erosion, and freshwater contamination. Local governments, communities, and individuals have a crucial role to play in mitigating further sea level rise and adapting to the current impacts of rising sea levels. Education and awareness programs can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote renewable energy, and develop adaptation strategies to protect our coastlines from the impacts of climate change.