Rising sea levels could wipe out entire coastal cities by 2050

With Asia as the largest and most vulnerable, encompassing 70 percent of the potential threat

Boy submerged in water. MartinaBadini/Shutterstock

Rising sea levels prompted by climate change will endanger 300 million people around the world by 2050, at least three times more than what was previously forecasted. According to CNN, the findings published in the journal Nature Communications underlined Asians as the most vulnerable communities.

Using advancements in elevation modelling technology, the researchers calculated high tides to rise between 0.6 to 2.1 metres or more within the next century.

By 2050, cities occupied by 300 million people could experience drastic floods at least once a year, as these areas drop below the average annual coastal flood line. By 2100, cities home to 200 people could be considered unlivable, as these areas permanently fall below the high tide line.

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“The results indicate that, yes, a great deal more people are on vulnerable land than we thought,” said Benjamin Strauss, one of the study’s authors and CEO of the non-profit Climate Central.

To prevent imminent “economic and humanitarian catastrophe,” he urged affected regions to conduct advanced coastal defence and planning.

Around 70 percent of people who could be threatened by permanent flooding are in eight Asian countries: Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Shanghai, Tianjin, Hong Kong, and other low-lying massive cities in China could be at risk, as well as eastern Indian city Kolkata, Vietnamese capital Hanoi, and Bangladeshi capital Dhaka. Moreover, nearly all of the entire southern tip of Vietnam could be underwater.

As for the rest of the world, Africa, Brazil, the UK, and 16 other countries could also fall below the high tide line by 2100.