Study triples population at risk of climate-triggered floods

Katie Ramirez
October 31, 2019

Nearly 36 million folks in India will probably be threatened by flooding yearly by 2050 if inexperienced home gasoline emissions are usually not diminished, a brand new research has mentioned, exhibiting the potential of local weather change to reshape cities, economies and coastlines inside our lifetimes.

According to the new research, some 150 million people are now living on land that will be below the high-tide line by mid-century. Some are protected by dikes and levees, but most are not. As a result, he and Strauss used artificial intelligence to figure out the rate of error and correct the numbers. This 3D model of the planet has become one of the most used Earth observation datasets in history. But in flood prone Asia and other places that's not an option, Strauss said.

This problem occurs particularly in locations where there is thick vegetation, such as forests; the radar tends to see the tree canopy, not the ground.

The findings are based on new artificial intelligence and data, almost tripling the previously estimated area and populations under threat.

With the ice in Greenland and Antarctica melting at record rates, scientists now estimate sea levels could rise 2-7 feet by the end of the century, with some estimates even higher.

In India, 36 million people would face annual flooding by 2050 and 44 million by 2100 if emissions continue to rise.

This upward increase is based on a more sophisticated assessment of the topography of coastlines across the globe.

The team has produced an interactive map that illustrates the difference between estimates based exclusively on the shuttle legacy data and the reworked elevations.

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According to a United Nations report on climate change, the melting of Greenland's ice sheets has resulted in over 275 gigatons being lost on average per year between 2006 and 2015.

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. And protective measures like sea walls have made it possible for millions of people around the world to live comfortably in areas below the high tide line, Strauss told Denise Lu and Christopher Flavelle at The New York Times.

The researchers say that in a scenario of unchecked emissions and early-onset ice sheet instability, the sea level rise will threaten the livelihood and homes of as many as 630 million people worldwide by 2100.

The study found Mumbai's green zones, which act as sponges and flood plains - such as the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Aarey Milk Colony, Powai, Andheri (East), Borivli, Kandivli (East), Mulund (West), Thane (West), and Bhiwandi - are likely to survive the rise in sea level. "But this also means there are much greater benefits to reducing climate pollution and slowing sea level rise".

For example, it assumes a static population - future growth and migration are not considered.

The threat that advancing seas will overwhelm the ability of countries to build coastal defenses and force many millions of people to migrate has always been regarded as one of the most potentially destabilizing impacts of the climate crisis. But its value is significant for those places which don't enjoy such good coverage.

And it's been a long time coming.

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