Millions face risk from catastrophic sea level rise that is predicted to inundate coastal areas around the world over the next twenty years. In Asia alone, over 150 million persons could be displaced while Africa could witness 34 million fleeing the threat of floods. Smaller island nations may simply disappear under the waves.

thai flood reuters, Catastrophic Sea Level Rise

A study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research predicts that the numbers could be even higher if population growth is included. Plans to boost coastal flood defenses are urgently needed, however many of the most effected populations are from poor countries that do not have adequate resources. (photo – Reuters)

 

As Hurricane Harvey showed, the United States is vulnerable.

hurricane harvey new york times, Catastrophic Sea Level Rise“More than half of the United States must at least double their protection level within the next two decades if they want to avoid a dramatic increase in river flood risks,” said Sven Willner, of the Potsdam Institute. (photo – New York Times)

The culprit in sea level rise is of course global warming. The risk of flooding increases because the amount of rain increases exponentially as temperatures rise. From pre-industrial levels, global temperatures have already risen more than 1 degree Celsius.

And even though many countries committed in 2015 to holding global temperatures below an increase of 2 degrees Celsius we are currently on track to exceed that level.

india monsoon flooding in 2017 ndtv.comAlthough we think of coastal flooding caused by hurricanes and cyclones as the main threat, river flooding can also inflict serious damage and human displacement. In 2017 Peru experienced river flooding that was its worst in decades and caused nearly $9 billion in damage.

And flooding caused by South Asian monsoons killed in excess of 1400 people and drove tens of thousands from their submerged homes. Although flooding is normal during a typical monsoon, in 2017 an entire year’s rain fell in just several days. (photo – ndtv.com)

 

It Takes More Than Dykes

“It’s not that straightforward to think if only we built dykes and levees along the rivers … then the world will be a safe place,” said Richard Klein, from the Stockholm Environment Institute. Flood protection “will also have an effect on food production and it will increase the risk of particularly high magnitude events.” See the entire article on Reuters.com.

By Robert Frerck, Blue Ocean Network

 

See these related Blue Ocean Articles:

Wildlife in the path of Hurricane Irma; manatees, dolphins, lemurs and Hemingway’s cats
What Produced the Catastrophic Houston Flood?
Sano: We Can No Longer Call These “Natural” Disasters.
Vanuatu in State of Emergency, Asking for Aid after Super Cyclone Pam Hits
Ocean Warming Faster: New Research Shows
Remarkable Warming Reported in Central California Coastal Waters
Global Warming Is a Hoax, Said Donald Trump!

 

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