KOCHI: The report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has warned of steep rise in sea level over the next century, has given an indication of Kerala coast’s vulnerability to inundation. According to the sea-level projection tool prepared by NASA based on the indicators provided by IPCC, sea level may rise by 0.11m by 2030. By 2100, it will have risen by 0.71m and by 2150, it would be up by 1.24m.
This is how it will impact us: According to scientists, a 1m rise in sea level will see the state losing 374 sq km of coastal land, including Kuttanad in Alappuzha. As per the projection, 150sqkm of land in Thrissur, 116 sqkm in Alappuzha, 88 sqkm in Kottayam and 20 sqkm in Ernakulam district will be submerged by 2130.
The IPCC report says climate change is affecting the severity and frequency of extreme weather events, from heatwaves and droughts to floods and storms. Coastal areas will see continuous rise in sea level throughout the 21st century, contributing to more frequent and severe coastal flooding in low-lying areas, besides coastal erosion. Extreme sea-level events that previously occurred once in 100 years can happen every year by the end of the century.
“The IPCC report indicates the fundamental threat to Kerala. Being a coastal state, Kerala is most vulnerable, with a high density of population at high risk from the impacts of climate change, grave coastal erosion, frequent floods, acute droughts, coastal waters with high salinity ingress, health risks, threat to agriculture and jeopardised biodiversity,” said National Centre for Earth Science Studies scientist K K Ramachandran.
Stressing on the need to revisit the document on Kerala State Action Plan on Climate Change prepared by the Directorate of Environment and Climate Change, he said the state should immediately adopt adaptation and mitigation measures, as well as assess physical and social vulnerabilities based on scientific principles.
“We should adapt climate-resilient coastal development, water management and river-basin settings through best practices,” said Ramachandran. “Until we move towards a low-carbon and climate-resilient development, our future is doomed. If we don’t act now, climate change can affect the welfare of the state,” he said.
12 cities will submerge by 0.49ft to 2.7ft by the end of 21st century. They are Kochi, Kandla, Okha, Bhavnagar, Mumbai, Mormugao, Mangaluru, Paradip, Khidirpur, Visakhapatnam, Chennai and Thoothukudi.