Climate change is known to pose a significant threat on the planet for the past few years. Scientists have frequently sent cautionary notes against sea-level rise, warmer temperatures, and the melting of ice caps. On the other hand, it might be difficult to grasp the influence of such phenomenons on the daily life of people.
Important cities all over the world are gradually sinking and this has emerged as the most alarming impact of climate change in a tangible manner. Several major cities of the world have been slowly sinking under the water owing to sea-level rise. Moreover, at some places, it is happening at an exponentially fast pace. None of the continents are immune to this phenomenon.
Dr. Katherine Kramer is the head author of ‘Sinking Cities’ which is a research paper. It explains the weakening of many big cities mainly due to their rampant development. These cities are more prone to flooding and natural disasters, making them unstable. Many global metropolises might appear stable and strong but it is an illusion. Significant cities in the US, Africa, and Asia are in great danger to sink under the sea.
Sea-Level Rise A Major Threat To These Cities
Credits: Mast Irham/EPA, via Shutterstock
This Indonesian capital city is considered to be the fastest city that is sinking under the oceans. At present, 40% of the entire city has sunken due to sea-level rise. In addition, the remaining portion of the city is sinking at an almost 10 inches rate every year, which is a cause of huge concern. Residents are using this to their advantage by building private wells for obtaining groundwater that will eventually lead to the draining of underground aquifers. As a result, the city is vulnerable to attack from rainwater flooding as well as sea-level rise.
The sinking of London city is not due to skyscrapers or poor infrastructure. Instead, it is because of the ‘glacial isostatic adjustment’ phenomenon from the previous ice age. Kramer has informed that London is sinking under sea-level rise owing to the Scotland glaciers that have been pressing down on the nation for the past 11,000 years. Scotland is recently rising by 0.04 inches each year since the melting of UK glaciers. The metallic gates forming Thames Barriers were originally used 3 times a year but lately, they are used 6 to 7 times.
Credits Tanmoy Bhaduri
Dhaka is sinking at half an inch every year. Although this might not be as alarming as Jakarta, the sea-level rise in the Bay of Bengal has been 10 times more globally. Millions of people residing in the coastal areas of the city have already migrated, creating overcrowded slums. This situation has been made worse by the unsustainable extraction of groundwater and moving tectonic plates. Officials suggested improving the water infrastructure of Dhaka to resolve the issue but it might not be sufficient.
Presently, Bangkok is only 5ft above sea level while it is sinking almost 1 inch every year. The city is expected to be submerged by the year 2030 without any urgent drastic measures. Although Bangkok is safe from groundwater issues, the ground of the city is caving due to the towering skyscrapers. Kramer stated that the weight of the tall buildings is pressing the riparian sediments that are depleting the sustaining water.
V: New Orleans
Credits Rand Corporation
New Orleans is anticipated to witness a sea-level rise of 14.5 inches within 2040, as reported by a 2016 study by NASA. This is the highest sinking rate across the planet. The maps of NASA reveal parts of New Orleans sinking almost 2 inches every year, especially around the Mississippi River area, and Michoud and Norco’s industrialized regions. Groundwater, gas, and oil are being extracted that are compacting sediments and causing land movements.
Image Featured Marcin Szczepanski