Published: Wed, October 30, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

New study warns of greater risk of sea level rise

New study warns of greater risk of sea level rise

According to the Climate Central study, rise in sea levels will by 2050 push average annual coastal floods higher than lands that are now home to 300 million people.

The research found that 300 million are now living in areas that are likely to flood at least once a year by 2050 - dwarfing NASA's former predictions that estimated 80 million were at risk.

The study shows that Southern Vietnam could disappear while 10% of Thailand's land could vanish under water.

Rising sea levels around the world could swallow whole cities and land masses, threatening millions of people that live on them, by the year 2050. These new projections do not account for population growth and loss of land to coastal erosion.

Scott A Kulp explained to The New York Times that standard elevation measurements calculated using satellites struggle to differentiate the actual ground level from the tops of trees and buildings.

The researchers used machine-learning methods to correct for systematic errors in the principal elevation dataset used until now for global assessment of coastal flood risks, NASA " s Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). South Vietnam is projected to nearly disappear, affecting more than 20 million people. Earlier calculations had pegged this number at just 1 percent.

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In this photograph taken on September 14, 2019 people gather by the sea during high tide in Mumbai. "Our data improve the picture, but there is still a great need for governments and aerospace companies to produce and release more accurate elevation data".

But even if that investment happens, defensive measures can go only so far. "How deep a bowl do we want to live in?" he asked.

The researchers have suggested that countries which are facing a similar threat start preparing to relocate their people within their own boundaries and control the population in such vulnerable areas. Most of Ho Chi Minh City, the country's economic centre, will be wiped out.

"We've been trying to ring the alarm bells, we know that it's coming", she said. If that happens, the effects could be felt well beyond Iraq's borders, according to John Castellaw, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general who was chief of staff for US Central Command during the Iraq War.

"As shocking as these findings might be, there is a silver lining", said Climate Central's director of communications Peter Girard. "It's a humanitarian, security and possibly military problem too".

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