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Day 4 – Q 3. What would be the major changes in the world’s coastal zones if sea level were to rise? Discuss.

3. What would be the major changes in the world’s coastal zones if sea level were to rise? Discuss.

3.समुद्र के स्तर में वृद्धि होने पर दुनिया के तटीय क्षेत्रों में बड़े बदलाव क्या होंगे? चर्चा करें।


  • Give a brief introduction regarding the threat of sea level rise.
  • Divide the impact of sea level rise into socio-economic and environmental input.
  • Substantiate arguments with facts wherever possible.


Between 1993 and 2010, sea levels rose by 3.2 mm per year, the fifth Assessment Report of IPCC projects more and faster sea level rise by the end of the 21st century. With 20% of the world’s population living within 30 km of the coast, rapid sea level rise can have large scale ramifications.


Current century is facing the fastest rise in the sea level. One of the first zones that will be hit by this rise would be the coastal zones. Considering that coastal zones have been a hotbed of civilizations across the globe, the changes that it will witness would have severe impact. These impacts can be seen as below.

Socio- Economic impact-

  • The rise in sea level would flood the coastal areas. This would displace the population residing near the coastal areas. Such situation can be witnessed in major cities like New York, Mumbai. Also, the displaced population would put pressure on the limited resources in the relocated areas.  This might lead to social tensions as well.
  • The flooding would also usurp large amount of cultivatable lands across the globe and bring down the food-grain production. In Bangladesh, sea level rise would inundate 17 per cent of Bangladesh’s land area by 2050 reducing cultivatable lands significantly.
  • Large proportion of population is employed due to economic services provided by coastal region (tourism, port facilities, fisheries). The rise in sea level would bring a halt to most of such services and thus threaten livelihood of scores of people across the globe.
  • The sea level rise can harm the very existence of some Island nations like Maldives. It has been found that in 2017, 8 Islands in Pacific Ocean were swallowed by sea level rise.
  • With sea level rise, the threat of storms, cyclones would increase because waves can attack higher on the shore profile damaging the infrastructure near to shorelines.

Environmental impact-

  • Rise in seal level would submerge coastal ecosystems like mangrove forests, reefs which not only act as a first line of defense against calamities like Tsunami, floods but also preserve the marine biodiversity in the region. This threat is quite evident in Sundarbans of West Bengal.
  • Wetlands are under greater threat of getting submerged in the sea. This would destroy the biodiversity profile of the region and can impact migration patterns of many birds. It is estimated that a 38-cm rise in global sea level would lead to an approximate 22 % loss of the coastal wetlands
  • Inundation due to floods leads to salinization of groundwater and thus reducing the availability of fresh water.
  • It has been seen that sea level rise can exacerbate the coastal erosion and thus eroding a once existing coastline. Parali I, a biodiversity-rich uninhabited island of Lakshadweep has vanished due to coastal erosion in 2017.


The changes that coastal zone would witness would be irreversible.  Thus, steps like Paris Climate Change Accord, Sustainable Development Goals have to be mainstreamed across the globe. The successful implementation of such steps would decide the future of many people depending on the coastal regions.

Best Answer: cr7

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