We may have underestimated the consequences of sea level rising. At least, that is what a new study published in Nature Communications has shown.
According to the two researchers at Princeton who conducted it, this phenomenon could lead to the disappearance of a much larger area than we expected. As a consequence, from 150 to 300 million people will have to leave their homes by 2050. The exact number depends on the amount of emissions that we will emit in the coming years. However, it is about three times higher than that estimated so far.
The two experts Scott A. Kulp and Benjamin H. Strauss were able to come to this result thanks to the use of artificial intelligence and call it shocking. “These assessments show us how climate change can redesign cities, coasts, entire regions and transform the economy throughout our lives,” Kulp said. “Human life is concentrated at extremely disproportionate levels in flat lands, at low altitudes near the sea,” added Strauss. “We will suffer the consequences of this phenomenon very much.”
What to Expect from Sea Level Rising
The continent that will have to deal with this upheaval most is Asia. 70% of the people who will have to leave their homes live in China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Japan. According to the study, some cities such as Mumbai and Ho Chi Min will disappear, as will the centre of Shanghai. We will also have to prepare to say goodbye to some cultural heritages, such as Alexandria in Egypt.
The disappearance of the cities will not, however, be the worst consequence. Sea level rising, in fact, will force a great many people to emigrate, both inside and outside their own national borders. This movement of people will be far greater than the flows we have seen in recent years. For this reason, it is difficult to imagine what the consequences will be – both economically and socially.
Preventive Measures Are Needed
Even before this happens, governments should be concerned about another aspect, say the authors of the study. That is, the defence of coastal management. “Although rising sea levels threaten many more people than we imagined, the benefits of action are greater,” Strauss said.
The study published in Nature shows that the people living in at-risk areas today are not 28 million, as we thought, but 110 million. This means that the systems and barriers that have been developed in recent years are working.