Sinking land and rising seas: the dual crises facing coastal communities
A double whammy of climate change and human-caused land subsidence means global coastal residents are experiencing extreme sea-level rise.
The world’s coastal residents are experiencing more extreme sea level rise than is widely appreciated because they are concentrated in places where the land is sinking rapidly, a study published Monday in Nature Climate Change has found.
Sea levels are rising globally as Earth’s ice sheets melt and as warming sea water expands. But on a local scale, subsidence, or sinking land, can dramatically aggravate the problem. Cities like New Orleans and Jakarta are experiencing very rapid sea level rise relative to their coastlines—the land itself is sinking as the water is rising.
Now, an international team of researchers has demonstrated that this one-two punch is more than a local problem. Sinking land makes coastal residents around the world disproportionately vulnerable to