The extreme rise in sea-level that used to occur once in a century will now strike major coasts every year by 2050. This will be a very likely scenario irrespective of climate heating emissions are curbed or not, according to a landmark report prepared by global scientists.
The stark assessment of the climate crisis in the world’s oceans and ice caps concludes that many major impacts are already inevitable such as intense storms, melting permafrost, and diminishing marine life.
Far more disastrous impacts will hit the world if urgent action to cut fossil fuel emissions are not taken. The outcome will include eventual sea-level rise by up to 4 meters and an outcome of a kind that would redraw the map of the world and harm billions of people.
A report prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and approved by all of its member countries, says that “The global population depends directly or indirectly on the ocean”. Ice caps and glaciers are needed to regularise the climate and provide water and oxygen. The oceans and the glaciers are being affected by unprecedented and dangerous changes caused by global warming.
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Sea level rise is accelerating due to the melting of glaciers and icecaps at Greenland and Antarctica. The ocean is getting hotter, more acidic and less oxygenated. This will lead to many coastal megacities and small island nations to experience once-a-century weather catastrophes every year, even with greenhouse gas emissions-reducing majorly, the IPCC report said.
“The future for low-lying coastal communities looks extremely bleak,” said Prof Jonathan Bamber at Bristol University in the UK, who is not one of the report’s authors. “But the consequences will be felt by all of us. There is plenty to be concerned about for the future of humanity and social order from the headlines in this report.”