Mangalore is one of the port cities in the world that is believed to experience a significant rise in sea level due to melting polar glaciers, NASA scientists have warned.
The coastal city of Karnataka, however, is not alone. Kakinada on the east coast and Mumbai on the west would also meet the same fate, along with many other Indian coastal towns, thanks to the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps.
These are the findings of new research by scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory into how sea level rise – as a result of melting polar ice – would affect 293 port cities around the world.
“Indian cities are far from Greenland and Antarctica, so they see sea levels rise in the order of about 3mm per year, which is close to the maximum a city can see. In 100 years, it will be about 30 cm of sea level rise, ”Eric Larour, JPL scientist in the earth sciences section, who led the study, told DH.
Of the three Indian cities, the increase in Mangalore would peak at 2.94mm per year. The annual increase in Mumbai would be 2.88 mm while for Kakinada it would be 2.87 mm.
The port city of Karnataka is said to experience one of the highest sea level rises in Southeast Asia, eclipsed only by Yangon (2.95mm) and Colombo (3.02mm).
Most Indian coastal cities are likely to experience a similar level of sea level rise (around 30cm rise in the next 100 years). “We need to be aware and prepare,” Larour said, when asked if this was a cause for alarm.
Earlier this month, a U.S. government report made surprising findings of an 18- to 8-inch sea level rise since 1900, with the past 25 years accounting for nearly half of that increase.
The new study – published in a recent issue of Science Advances – is based on a computerized diagnostic tool, created by the JPL team to anticipate the consequences of large-scale melting ice on port cities around the world. “For India it’s far from most ice masses so it has a big impact,” he said.
The only relief for India is the presence of the Himalayas, which to some extent mitigates the impact of the melting polar ice.
“The only place that eases sea level rise is the Himalayan glaciers. For India alone, the Himalayan glaciers are responsible for a slight drop in sea level, ”Larour said. The impact of all the other ice masses in the world is massively affecting India in a negative way.