After a rise in sea level, widespread flooding, intrusion of salt water, and coastal erosion are expected in low lying coastal settlements…
Small island developing states (SIDS) are particularly vulnerable to global climate change, climate variability and sea-level rise…
- the number of people at risk from flooding by coastal storm surges is projected to increase from the current 75 million to 200 million in a scenario of mid-range climate changes, in which a rise in the sea level of 40 cmis envisaged by the 2080s. Countries such as Vietnam, Egypt, Bangladesh, and small island nations would be especially vulnerable.(1)
- thirteen of the world’s 20 megacities are on coastal plains. Rising seas could result in salination of coastal freshwater aquifers and disrupt storm-water drainage and sewage disposal.(2)
- extreme case of a rise of 1 metre in the sea level could inundate low lying areas, affecting 18.6 million people in China, 13 million in Bangladesh, 3.5 million in Egypt, and 3.3 million in Indonesia.(3)
- as their population, agricultural land and infrastructure tend to be concentrated in the coastal zone, any rise in sea-level will have significant and profound effects on their economies and living conditions; the very survival of certain low-lying countries will be threatened. The increased frequency and intensity of the storm events that may result from climate change will also have profound effects on both the economies and the environments of small island developing States;
- the islands of Maldives are situated on the equator southwest of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean. With 75% of the land area less than a meter above average sea level, the Maldives is among the most susceptible to impacts of climate change;
- the islands of Tuvalu, located in the Pacific Ocean and no more than 15 feet (about 4.5 m) above sea level, is one of the many small island states that are in danger of being washed away as a result of sea level rise, the inevitable consequence of global warming.
1) McCarthy J, Canziani O, Leary N, Kokken D, White K. Climate change 2001: impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001. (UN Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change. Third assessment report.)
2) Patz J. Public health risk assessment linked to climatic and ecological change. Hum Ecolog Risk Assess 2001; 7: 1317-1327.
3) Nicholls R, Leatherman S. Global sea-level rise. In: Strzepek K, Smith J, eds. As climate changes: international impacts and implications. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995:92-123.