Coastal sea-level rise expected to be much worse than previously thought

Coastal communities could experience sea-level rise up to four times that of the global average, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. 

The study, which was led by researchers at the University of East Anglia assessed four components of relative sea-level change: climate-induced sea-level change, the effects of glacier weight removal causing land uplift or sinking and estimates of river delta subsidence in cities.

They found that coastal inhabitants are living with an average sea level rise of 7.8 mm – 9.9 mm per year over the past twenty years, compared with a global average rise of 2.6mm a year.

This means that the risk of sea-level rise is most urgent in South, South East and East Asia, especially as these areas are home to growing coastal megacities and more than 70% of the world’s coastal population.

The researchers have highlighted that the projected impacts are far larger than the global numbers reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Lead researcher Professor Robert Nicholls, said: ‘Climate-induced sea-level rise is caused by melting glaciers and thermal expansion of water due to rising global temperatures.


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