Know Climate Change

Impacts of Climate Change

Impacts on Coastal Systems and Low-lying Areas

Throughout the 20th century, the global rise in sea level has contributed to increased coastal inundation, erosion, and ecosystem losses. Rising temperatures have led to loss of sea ice, thawing of permafrost and associated coastal retreat, and more frequent coral bleaching and mortality. This has consequently led to an increase in sea level, displacement of people, loss of livelihoods, and submergence of low-lying areas.

There are strong interactions both within as well as between the natural and human systems in the coastal system. Thus, there is a need to have an integrated approach for the management of coastal zones.

Effect of climate change factors on Coastal system

Importance of Coastal Areas... Click to know

Coastal areas are also very important for the unique ecosystem they harbour. Coastal wetland ecosystems, such as salt-marshes and mangroves, will be threatened due to coastal erosion and are likely to be affected by development processes in coastal regions. This not only leads to ecosystem imbalance but also has serious implications for the well-being of societies dependent on the coastal ecosystems for goods and services.

Anticipated climate-related changes include the following.

  • An accelerated rise in sea level of 0.2 m to 0.6 m or more by 2100
  • Further rise in sea surface temperatures, by 1–3 °C leading to coral bleaching events and widespread mortality
  • More intense tropical and extra-tropical cyclones
  • Larger extreme wave and storm surges
  • Altered precipitation/run-off
  • Acidification of the ocean (due to CO2 uptake)

Melting ice a HOT TOPIC? Ask yourself.

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Increased flooding and the degradation of freshwater, fisheries, and other resources could impact hundreds of millions of people, and the socio-economic costs associated with coasts are increasing alarmingly as a result of climate change.