In News: A study has reported that the worst impacts of sea level rise will hit earlier than thought and the impact would be more than earlier predicted.
About Worst Impacts of Sea Level Rise Study
- Instruments used in the study: The study used high-resolution measurements of land elevation, which were taken from NASA’s ICESat-2 lidar satellite, to improve upon models of sea level rise and inundation.
- Previous assessments typically relied on radar-based data, which are less precise, as Radar cannot fully penetrate vegetation and therefore overestimate surface elevation.
- Level of inundation: Analyses of the new Lidar-based elevation model showed two metres of sea-level rise would cover up to 2.4 times the land area as observed by radar-based elevation models.
- The researchers found that after those first few metres of sea level rise, the rate at which land area falls below the mean sea level decreases.
- The researchers noted that cities below future sea level may not necessarily be submerged because levees, dikes and pumping stations can protect some areas from rising seas.
About Sea Level Rise
- Sea level rise is an increase in the level of the world’s oceans due to the effects of global warming.
- The key causes include:
- Ocean expansion: Burning Fossil Fuels releases heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, which are absorbed majorly by oceans, causing the warmer water in oceans to expand and rise.
- Melting of ice cap: With the average year-round global temperatures rising, ice caps and glaciers are experiencing a disproportionate amount of melting at an accelerated rate.
- Consequences of sea-level rise:
- Damage coastal areas: Increased intensity of storm surges, flooding, and damage to coastal areas
- Displacement of communities: Threat to life in coastal areas, and their displacement to seek safer homes
- Land contamination: Contamination of soil and groundwater with salt
- Mitigation Strategies include:
- Building flood barriers to protect infrastructure
- Relocate facilities to higher elevations
- Allow coastal wetlands to migrate inland (e.g., through setbacks, density restrictions land purchases)
- Remove hard protection or other barriers to tidal and riverine flow (e.g., riverine and tidal dike removals)
- Incorporate sea level rise into planning for new infrastructure (e.g., sewage systems)
- Integrated Coastal Zone Management – using an integrated approach to achieve sustainability.