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Sea level rise ‘could cross two meters by 2100’

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[MANILA] The Asian Development Bank (AfDB) recommends increasing the imaginary waterline demarcation to two meters, instead of the existing one, for projects in the Asia-Pacific region to improve the resilience of structures in the face of rising from sea level.

An AfDB report presented at the bank’s annual board meeting (September 26-30) warns that sea levels in the Asia-Pacific region could exceed two meters by 2100 due to double heavy blow from land subsidence mainly due to groundwater abstraction as well as warming of the oceans due to climate change. The report is based on hydrographic records and geological evidence dating back hundreds of years.

“Based on observed data collected since 2000, most islands in the Pacific Islands region are subsiding. Therefore, the effect of sea level rise will be amplified where land is sinking, said the study.

Anthony Kiem, study author and professor of hydroclimatology at the University of Newcastle, Australia, says sea level rise in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to worsen the impacts of climate change and present a challenge. for new and existing critical infrastructure.

Kiem was an external technical reviewer for a report on sea level rise infrastructure risk management in Pacific island countries, released in February by the Pacific Region Infrastructure Facility, which said sea level sea ​​level is expected to continue to rise for several centuries, posing an ongoing challenge for the Pacific. Island countries.

While some paleoclimate records suggest that a sea level rise of five meters in a century has already occurred, the consensus is that such an extreme rise would occur over long time periods (centuries to millennia) and that it is unlikely to occur before 2100, according to the study.

According to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (AR6), “the projected global mean sea level rise of 1.7 to 6.8”.

Given the evidence of projected sea level changes by 2100 in Asia-Pacific, the AfDB suggested that governments make appropriate adjustments to the infrastructure they plan to build.

“For short and medium-term projects (i.e. with a lifespan of 20 to 30 years), a scenario of 0.5 meters by 2050; for the long term, a scenario of two meters by 2100; and for projects with an expected lifetime beyond 2100, scenarios over two meters,” the study states.

“The Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other work that has emerged since AR5 [the previous assessment] demonstrate that not only is sea level rise greater than one meter (relative to the 1995-2014 baseline) conceivable at some point in the 21st century, but it is also plausible that sea level rise could exceed two meters by 2100,” the study said.

According to the Pacific Regional Infrastructure Facility, Pacific island countries have low adaptive capacity to climate change, and a holistic approach to infrastructure management that considers the full range of plausible climate change outcomes. climate and natural risks is necessary.

This piece was produced by the Asia and Pacific office of SciDev.Net.