Surging Sea Levels Potentially ‘Catastrophic’ For Bustling World Mega-Cities — Study

Surging sea levels across the world can generate grievous implications for the world’s most bustling and densely inhabited coastal mega-cities, according to a recent study. The focus of the study was to ascertain the impact of the current pattern of carbon emissions on the planet based on a comparative assessment of both targeted as well as existing carbon emissions.

According to the study, carbon emissions as they currently stand are causing 4 degree Celsius, or 7.2 degree Fahrenheit, of warming. These patterns are likely to spawn enough sea level increases to inundate regions currently home to nearly 800 million people worldwide. However, according to the same projections, reducing these emissions to the prescribed international target of 2 degree Celsius warming, equivalent to 3.6 degree Fahrenheit, would limit the damage to as less as 130 million people worldwide.

China, among other nations at risk, is projected to be most irrecoverably impacted, given its nearly 150 million inhabitants currently exposed to the petrifying impact of rising world waters. Roughly 10 million citizens from other vulnerable countries namely India, Japan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, the United States, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Egypt, Brazil, Thailand, and Myanmar will be threatened by the daunting repercussions of climate change with many exposed to the peril of being devastated beyond recovery.

While many large and sprawling coastal mega-cities namely New York City, Shanghai, Mumbai, Durban, London, Sydney, and Rio among others will likely endure extreme consequences, many smaller island nations such as the Bahamas, The Maldives, Cayman Islands among others, with virtually all of their citizens inhabiting coastal territories, remain invariably predisposed to the looming threat. However, many of these potentially vulnerable regions are also likely to profit considerably from the proposed reduction in emissions, with some exposure levels reducing by nearly 50 percent.

The most vulnerable regions in Europe are the east of England, the coastal belt extending from Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany all the way to Denmark. According to experts, many densely inhabited territories in the Netherlands, England, and Germany apparently sit well below the standard high-water mark. Their communities are seemingly up against a potentially cataclysmic threat emanating from the sea with a potential to completely devastate coastal populations.

According to the study, “four fundamental factors” influence overall global sea level projections. These include warming deep sea water, melting glaciers, and deteriorating Antarctic and Arctic ice sheets. General projections are then independently evaluated in order to determine “mass loss from polar ice sheets” that defines sea level variations specific to changing regions. Prior research has already suggested that the arctic ice sheet has begun to crumble amid alarmingly evident warnings signs of climate change.

Furthermore, recent studies on the economic implications of climate change have revealed extraordinary anomalies suggesting that global warming could unearth unprecedented macroeconomic challenges. For instance, countries with relatively high average yearly temperatures are likely to experience economic stagnation as temperatures rise. By contrast, countries with cooler temperatures may experience something quite the opposite. These peculiar trends are most certainly going to cause a drastic restructuring of growth, with the warmer regions having to bear the brunt of the economic downturn owing to warmer climates.

According to analysts, most coastal cities are ill-prepared against unforeseen storm surges and periodic flooding. Their demanding industrial goals barely lend them the latitude to preempt the impending rise in sea levels accompanying climate change. Safeguarding many of these sprawling mega-cities against the forceful tide of rising sea waters will involve coping with labyrinthine challenges and previously unprecedented global initiatives.

[Image Credit: Afton Almaraz/ Getty Images]