We have all heard terrible things about how the future will be devastated by rising sea levels. Well, these are not just stories but alarming facts that deserve our attention. Now, a new study by the New Jersey-based Climate Central, a non-profit news organisation suggests that rising sea levels, driven by climate change may wipe out Mumbai by 2050. The study also says that climate change will put three times more people at risk of coastal flooding than previously thought.
According to the new study findings, the sea level by 2050 will be high enough to threaten about 150 million people who are currently living on land that may be below the high-tide line by midcentury.
The new projections suggest that India’s financial capital, Mumbai is at risk of being wiped out. The city is built on what was once a series of islands and, therefore, the city’s core is at the risk of receiving the maximum harm.
Based on the study findings, a New York Times report says, "The new projections suggest that much of Mumbai, India’s financial capital and one of the largest cities in the world, is at risk of being wiped out. Built on what was once a series of islands, the city’s historic downtown core is particularly vulnerable.
According to the study about 300 million people are living on land that is without adequate sea defences and is likely to flood at least once a year on average by mid-century. And this scenario is unavoidable even if governments of the respective cities manage to make sharp cuts in emissions. According to estimates that were done earlier, about 80 million people were living on the land.
The paper’s authors, Scott A Kulp and Benjamin H Strauss, developed a more accurate method, a form of artificial intelligence known as neural networks to estimate the effects of sea-level rise. This new research gave out the more accurate ground elevation data that till now majorly underestimated the extent of flooding risk to coastal zones during high tide or major storm.
“Sea-level projections have not changed,” Ben Strauss was quoted saying. He added that, “But when we use our new elevation data, we find far more people living in vulnerable areas than we previously understood."
Apart from Mumbai in India, South Vietnam is also projected to almost disappear, affecting more than 20 million people. The study suggests that much of Ho Chi Minh City, which is the country’s economic centre, will be wiped out by 2050. And China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Japan account for the bulk of the at-risk population.
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