Sea Level Rise: Causes, effects and risks


We might not feel its effect and risks right now, but there is no doubt that the rise of the sea level is a real danger to our planet earth. Since 1880, the sea level has been rising, and that phenomenon is basically caused by global warming which drives the thermal expansion of seawater while melting land-based ice sheets and glaciers.

There are two ways for sea level rise to occur due to climate change:

  • Volumetric expansion of water due to rising temperatures
  • The addition of glacial melt water.

Although predicting sea level rise accurately is challenging, it is expected to accelerate during the 21st century; Moreover, the sea level rise differs from location to another. However, based upon current constructions from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration global, sea level is rising at a rate of approximately 3.0 mm/year.

To explain sea level rise in a simpler way, it’s like pouring water nonstop to a container, the water will keep filling the container till it’s full and then it will start getting out and drowning everything around it; and because oceans aren’t flat, there places that are more affected by sea level rise than others.


How Sea Level Rise affect our Lives:

Sea level rise isn’t just some ice melting; it’s causing serious damage to the ecosystem. We have observed the earth getting warmer due to global warming, and with the high temperature, the water expands and that can lead to the following:

  • Children who are born these days can expect the ocean to rise between 1 to 4 feet in their lifetime.
  • Hundreds of people living by the shore which means they are in more danger to be exposed to high tide level specially during storms.
  • With the ocean rises, the salt water will be getting mixed with rivers and water sources that we use on daily basis.

Coastal Areas that are Threatened by Sea Level Rise:

Sea level has risen 8 inches since 1880. One inch of sea level rise can cover between 50 to 100 inches of land! Here are some of the cities that will be greatly affected:

Osaka, Amsterdam, Beirut, Istanbul, Marseille, Rio, Athens, Mumbai, Guangzhou, Bangkok and basically all coastal cities!

What about Egypt?

The Egyptian city that is mostly threatened by sea level rise is Alexandria. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) reported that Alexandria will be submerged with a 0.5-metre sea-level rise, it’s estimated that 8 million people would be displaced by flooding in Alexandria and the Nile Delta.

Some studies indicate that Alexandria is one of the cities that will be partly submerged by 2070.


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Menna El-Baz

"My name is Menna, Mass Comm graduate, passionate writer and a pole dance addict. When I'm not writing or dancing, I will probably be reading or binge watching TV series

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