Cities like Mumbai Will Face Serious Impacts Of Sea Level Rise: UN Secretary-General

By Outlook Planet Desk February 15, 2023

A new report by the World Meteorological Organisation emphasises how urgent it is to address this problem given how quickly sea levels are rising

Cities like Mumbai Will Face Serious Impacts Of Sea Level Rise: UN Secretary-General
Receding glaciers will contribute to rising sea levels, if GHGs are not checked in time . DepositPhotos

According to a recent assessment by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), various nations, notably those with large populations of coastal cities like India and China, are facing significant issues as a result of sea level rise. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) recently released a new report on global sea-level rise and its implications for our planet. The report highlights the urgency of addressing this issue as sea levels continue to rise at an alarming rate.

“Mega-cities on every continent will face serious impacts including Cairo, Lagos, Maputo, Bangkok, Dhaka, Jakarta, Mumbai, Shanghai, Copenhagen, London, Los Angeles, New York, Buenos Aires and Santiago,” said UN Secretary-General, António Guterres. 

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported on Tuesday that over the years 2013 to 2022, the average global sea level rose by 4.5 mm per year, and that human influence was most likely the primary cause of these rises since at least 1971.

Since the conclusion of the last deglacial transition (about 11,000 years ago), the global ocean has warmed more quickly than it has in the previous century, and further sea level rise may heighten hazards to food security in susceptible locations between 1.5 C and 2 C Global Warming level. Other Small Islands and some low-lying beaches face an existential threat as a result of sea level rise.

Anjal Prakash, Research Director and Adjunct Associate Professor, Bharti Institute of Public Policy, Indian School of Business and Lead Author for IPCC Reports, says, “The WMO report has once again highlighted India’s vulnerability, which owns 7500 km long coastline including both the West Coast and East Coast. India is a major hotspot when it comes to coastal impacts because of climate change. Sea level rise exposes countries to water insecurity because of salinity. Secondly, SLR has also resulted in decline in fish production. This is not a healthy sign for India. There is a need for adaptation measures to secure the livelihood of fishermen and water security in terms of providing safe and clean water to inhabitants of coastal areas. The problem of climate change leading to sea level rise needs more discussion at the policy level, explaining the bottom-up plan at the sub district level and how we can map climate impacts at the local level.” 

Global mean sea level will increase by two to three metres over the next two thousand years if warming is kept to 1.5 degrees Celsius, two to six metres if it is kept to two degrees Celsius, and 19 to 22 metres if it is kept to five degrees Celsius. It will continue to rise during succeeding millennia.

   The rising sea levels have serious implications for our planet, especially for coastal communities and low-lying areas. They increase the risk of flooding, erosion, and saltwater intrusion, which can damage homes and infrastructure, contaminate freshwater sources, and harm wildlife and ecosystems. In addition, they can exacerbate the impact of storms and other extreme weather events, causing even more damage and disruption.

Guterres remarked, “The Greenland ice cap is melting even faster — losing 270 billion tonnes per year. And consider the hundreds of millions of people living in the river basins of the Himalayas. We’ve already seen how Himalayan melts have worsened flooding in Pakistan in 2022. But as these glaciers recede over the coming decades, over time, the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers will shrink.”

According to the WMO, there is a danger of a two-meter sea level rise by 2100 and even a fifteen-meter rise by 2300 in the case of extremely high greenhouse gas emissions (complete failure of mitigation).

The 2015 Paris Agreement seeks to pursue efforts to keep the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius and to keep global warming to far below two degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels.

As a solution Guterres stressed on curbing GHGs, climate justice, and also talked about improving foresight and early warning systems