Sea level rise in cities: Preparing for a waterlogged future

IMAGE CREDIT:
Image credit
iStock

Sea level rise in cities: Preparing for a waterlogged future

Sea level rise in cities: Preparing for a waterlogged future

Subheading text
Sea levels have been steadily rising over the past few years, but is there something coastal cities can do?
    • Author:
    • Author name
      Quantumrun Foresight
    • November 8, 2021

    Post text

    Every year, climate change seems to spur increasingly severe storms, all the while seas keep on creeping inland. As a result, coastal cities experience flooding and millions of dollars worth of damages. What can be done to defend coastal homes?

    Sea level rise in cities context

    Scientists estimate that for the past 20 years, sea levels have increased 7.6 cm in total, with an annual increase of 0.3 cm. If global temperature increases by 1.5 degrees Celsius, sea levels could increase between 52 to 97.5 cm by 2100. Entire island nations would likely disappear.

    Even now, coastal cities are experiencing the dire consequences of climate change. Jakarta, for example, has sunk 2.5 meters in less than a decade and experiences severe flooding during its typhoon season. If oceans continue to rise, nations in Oceania, such as Kiribati, admit that their survival is unlikely. 

    Disruptive impact

    Some coastal cities, however, are actively preparing to mitigate worsening conditions. The Netherlands, for example, has taken a multi-facet approach to keep itself afloat such as reinforcing dams and seawalls, creating reservoirs, and improving their communities’ climate resilience. Another example is China, which uses the “sponge city” approach, requiring 80 percent of urban areas to be able to absorb and recycle 70 percent of floodwater. The government aims to implement this approach on 600 cities by the early 2030s. 

    Meanwhile, some coastal cities are also planning for a last-resort strategy of relocating. For example, Kiribati is negotiating to buy a piece of land from Fiji as a backup plan.

    Wider implications of sea level rise cities

    Some fields and industries that might be affected by rising sea levels are:

    • Urban planning, as municipal governments invest further into storm and flood-resilient infrastructure.
    • Essential sector infrastructure such as power and water, as state/provincial-level providers might have to develop and invest in technologies that could keep their systems resilient during floods and storms.
    • Public transportation systems, as roads, tunnels and train tracks might need to be re-designed or elevated.

    Questions to comment on

    • If you live in a coastal city, would you be willing to relocate further inland? Why or why not?
    • How is your city preparing for extreme weather conditions?

    Community forecast feedback

    View the community's ratings after you leave your own below.

    Average year

    All readers

    Average year

    Qr readers

    --

    Average vote

    All readers

    Average vote

    Qr readers

    --

    Average vote

    All readers

    Average vote

    Qr readers

    --

    Average vote

    All readers

    Average vote

    Quantumrun readers

    --
    --
    --

    Average vote

    Company readers

    Insight references

    The following popular and institutional links were referenced for this insight: