The ‘State of the Global Climate 2022’ report released by WMO highlighted that sea level is rising at an unprecedented rate.
Issue: The rate of global mean sea-level [GSML] rise has doubled in three decades i.e., rate of sea-level rise was 2.27 mm/year in 1993-2002, it shot up to 4.62 mm/year in 2013-2022.
Factors leading to Global sea level rise
- Thermal Expansion When water heats up, it expands. About half of the sea-level rise over the past 25 years is attributable to warmer oceans simply occupying more space.
- Global Warming : Glaciers and ice sheets worldwide are melting and adding water to the ocean.
- Seasonal Change: The annual warming/cooling cycle – in each hemisphere, the seas warm and expand in the summer, then cool and constrict in the winter is a significant cause of the intra-annual rise in sea level.
Impact of Global sea level rise
- Coastal Flooding
- Lateral and Inland Migration
- Threat to Inland Life
- Effect on Communications Infrastructure
- Destruction of Coastal Biodiversity
- Dangerous Storm Surges
- Food insecurity
- Tourism and Military Preparedness
- Reduce Carbon Footprint: Greenhouse gases are a key cause of sea-level rise. The transition to green energy must be expedited.
- Climate Action Plan: Developed countries must step-up climate finance and technology transfer to the developing counties to enhance their capacity for adaptation and mitigation.
- Ecosystem-based Solutions : These habitats can absorb carbon 40 times faster per hectare than tropical forests, making them extremely beneficial for reducing climate change.
WMO Fact sheet on Sea Level Rise indicated that the rate of water-level rise in oceans is increasing rapidly.
Major urban centres and island Nations are vulnerable to the rising water levels.
There is a need for coordinated action at the global level to address the challenge. Else the consequences can be disastrous.