Islands, mountains, corals and cities – nature’s fury won’t spare any of them. The beautiful places which please and comfort you, might not be there for the next generation to see! In fact, some of them will be gone in another 15 years only.
Travellers visiting Venice in winter months often experience a waterlogged city, which is linked to this global warming issue. Right now, the city is experiencing the highest levels of flooding in four years. It is said to be from strong tides caused by The Bora, a winter wind travelling from the Northeast. Rising water levels is something that Venice has been battling for many years, with flooding commonplace; Venetians call it the ‘acqua volta’ and it usually happens between November and March. Every year, temporary stilted walkways are constructed on the streets so pedestrians can still get around. Worryingly, the new report, published in Quaternary International, also concludes that large areas of the west coast of Italy and the North Adriatic coast could also become swamped by 2100. The research study by ENEA (the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development) looked at millstone quarries along the Mediterranean Sea to assess intervening sea level changes since the quarries were abandoned. The data has been used as a means of predicting possible rises in the future.
2. New Orleans, USA
New Orleans is a city more vulnerable than most when it comes to storm surges. There are two main reasons for this. The first reason is New Orleans’ low elevation in relation to sea level, the second reason is the lack of nature’s best defense against a storm surge; wetlands and barrier islands. The site of the city was originally very low in relation to sea level, but human interference has caused the city to sink even lower. When New Orleans was being constructed they ran out of good land. To make more room, engineers drained swamplands around the area so they could continue expansion. This drainage led to subsidence. Subsidence is sinking or settling to a lower level, in this case it was the earth’s surface sinking lower in relation to sea level. This sinking effect has led to present day New Orleans being, on average, six feet below sea level. The second major factor in New Orleans’ susceptibility to storm surges is their lack of nature’s best natural defenses against them; wetlands and barrier islands. For every mile of continuous wetlands a storm surge can be reduced by three to eight inches. Although it doesn’t seem like much, those valuable inches can be the difference between a city under water and a city completely dry.
3. Amsterdam, the Netherlands
The Netherlands often stop to take selfies in front of one of the country’s more than 1,000 windmills. Afterward, they might taste one of the many varieties of cheese for which the nation is famous. But most are unaware that these two icons of the Netherlands are responsible for causing the nation’s land to sink. The windmills were used for centuries to drain peatland for cattle grazing and agriculture at large, and that draining—these days done by pumping stations — is causing the land in some places to sink at an average rate of 8 millimeters per year, or about one-third of an inch. What’s worse, the sinking may actually be contributing to climate change: A drop in the peat soil of just one centimeter results in the emission of about 9 tons of carbon dioxide per acre, says Gert Jan van den Born, a policy researcher at PBL. That accounts for a large part of overall CO2 emissions in the agricultural sector. At the moment, however, it is unclear which government agency is responsible for preventing further subsidence. “We don’t know who takes the lead,” says van den Born, noting that the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality has more recently begun taking responsibility.
4. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Climate Central’s map shows that the areas most at risk in Ho Chi Minh City are its eastern part – particularly the flat, heavily built-up marshland of Thu Thiem. While the center of Ho Chi Minh City is unlikely to find itself underwater by 2030, it will almost certainly be more vulnerable to flooding and tropical storms, according to the report. Much of the demolition is happening in the city’s rapidly-developing downtown core, to keep apace with a mushrooming young population hungry for modernity and to feed the demand for more housing and office space. But those aren’t the only needs being fed, says Nguyen. “The key is money, the key is interest groups,” he told. Developers with deep pockets have scooped up swathes of land in the city center, with privately-owned old villas or historic municipal buildings replaced by sprawling construction zones. The most recent demolition to spark ire from conservationists is the Ba Son shipyard, Saigon’s oldest and most important maritime heritage site, on the banks of the Saigon River.
5. Kolkata, India
The impact of climate change is now visible on a day-to-day basis with cycles of floods caused by heavy bursts of rainfall and a rise in droughts due to increased evaporation. IPCC in its report warned that India must act now or else climate change will result in extreme weather conditions in the country. The West Bengal capital city, Kolkata will also be impacted by the rise of sea-level rise as most of the areas of the city, including Baranagar, Rajpur Sonarpur, and regions surrounding Howrah like Santragachi, Balitikuri is feared to be drowned. Global sea levels have risen by 11-16 cm or half the height of a 500 ml coke bottle in the 20th century, compared to the pre-industrial era, generally taken to be the year 1850. Even if the world drastically cuts down its annual carbon emissions, sea levels would rise half a metre by 2050 or roughly the height of two 500 ml coke bottles stacked up. In the most extreme scenario the sea level would rise 2 m by the turn of the century, or equivalent to the height of nearly nine such bottles stacked on top of each other.