A new study finds that by the end of the century, up to 410 million people could live in areas less than two meters above sea level threatened by rising waters.
According to research published in a recent issue of the scientific journal Nature Communications, there are currently 267 million people in the world who live two meters above sea level. Dutch researchers measured the height of coastal areas using the Lidar laser remote sensing method and predicted that by the year 2100, with the water level rising by one meter without population growth, this figure could rise to 410 million.
Their map shows that 62 percent of the areas most at risk are in the tropics, mostly in Indonesia. This rate may increase further in the future, with 72 percent of areas in the tropics and 59 percent in tropical Asia.
“Many scientists are looking at long-term scenarios, but in some parts of the world, especially in the tropics, major floods are already occurring, not only in Southeast Asia but also in the Niger Delta, for example. Less attention has been paid to,” said Aljosja Hooijer, A water sources expert at the independent Delfares Institute for Water Research in Delft, lead author of the study, “because people felt like they didn’t really know what to do with it.”
Accurate surface elevation data is not available in many parts of the world. “We have excellent data on the coasts of the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States, because it is surveyed from the top every four years with Lidar, which in the Netherlands, for example, costs tens of millions of euros each time.
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