Our earth has so many islands and other regions which are located even two or three meters higher than the sea level. These islands are heavily populated and any sea level rise will be a threat for their existence on earth. Some of the studies show that by 2100, the sea level may rise by 50 centimeters. “For people living on low-lying islands such as Tuvalu, Kiribati or the Maldives, where the highest point is only 2-3 meters above current sea levels, an extra 50 centimeters could see significant portions of their islands being washed away by erosion or covered by water” (Australian Academy of Science)
How far sea level rise can impact the human life? The scientific world has no clear answer to this question since the actual consequences may be even bigger than the anticipated consequences. Possible negative impacts of sea level rise “A Study by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimated potential increases in flood damages and the area of the coastal floodplain resulting from a 1- or 3-foot rise in sea level. ” (Sea Level Rise Reports) The major concern of sea level rise of course is the matter of threat towards human life in the coastal areas.
Many of the coastal areas are occupied by people especially from the fisherman society. The recent Tsunami attack has revealed the inefficiency of human intelligence in dealing with the natural calamity. Most of the natural calamities occur unexpectedly and hence the rescue operations may not be effective as we have witnessed in the Tsunami disaster. “Many island nations will have their supplies of drinking water reduced because sea water will invade their freshwater” (Australian Academy of Science) Apart from human casualty another important threat sea level rise can cause is the shortage of drinking water.
Most of the island nations depend heavily on underground water for their drinking purposes. If the salty sea water enters their land it will definitely cause problems in getting fresh drinking water from underground. More over the penetration of salt water on to the agricultural land may destroy the fertility of the land. “If the sea level rises by a meter, the coastal beaches could retreat by about 100 meters unless some preventative action is taken” (Australian Academy of Science) The protection of coastal areas is still a matter of concern for many countries.
Most of the methods implemented for the coastal land protection are not proved to be right. An increase of one meter in sea level has wide impact on coastal areas. For every single centimeter increase of sea level, the damage will be multiplied by many times that of the increase. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that 1 cm rise in sea level erodes beaches about 1 m horizontally. (Archfield) “A 50-cm rise in sea level will inundate 8500 to 19000 km2 of dry land” (Archfield) Another major impact of sea level rise is the increased probability of flood.
Because of the rise in sea level any heavy rain may result in heavy floods and the calamities may be more than what we can anticipate. The small rains which may not result in floods at present can cause floods if the sea level rises in future. The impacts of floods depend on the strength of the coastal areas. “A higher sea level will provide a higher base for storm surges. A one-meter rise in sea level would enable a 15-year storm to flood areas that today are only flooded by 100-year storms” (Archfield) The probability of occurrence of storm will be increased with the increase in sea level.
Conclusions Scientists at a Denmark conference say rising sea levels will have a major negative impact on 1-in-10 humans living in the Earth’s low-lying coastal areas. ” (Rising sea levels to impact low areas) To minimize the impacts of climate change and sea level rise, we need to change our habits as soon as possible. Heavy industrialization and uncontrolled utilization of powerful fertilizers and chemicals for maximizing agricultural yields all are destroying the environment. The ozone layer which protects us from harmful radiations from outer universe has already damaged due to the emission of carbon dioxide like harmful gases from vehicles.