Sea Levels Rising Pose Catastrophic Flood Risk, Warns Upcoming Study
by: The Beat Asia
December 04, 2023
According to reporting from MacauBusiness, a forthcoming study conducted by Professor Shi Huabin at the University of Macau sheds light on the alarming risks posed by rising sea levels to the region. The study, titled "Changes in Storm Tides with Rising Sea Waters," is supported by the Science and Technology Development Fund and paints a concerning picture of Macau's future.
Based on this research, which specifically examines the impact of sea level rise on storm tides, it is predicted that if sea levels in Macau rise by just one meter, as is projected for this century, most of the area will face an imminent threat of catastrophic floods like the ones experienced during Typhoon Hato in 2017.
The study attempts to quantify the flood risk resulting from storm tides, using the effects of Typhoon Hato as a reference point. This typhoon wreaked havoc in Macau, claiming 10 lives and leaving 240 people injured. The research establishes five different risk levels based on the potential duration of flooding, with prolonged flooding periods being particularly perilous.
In the hypothetical scenario where sea levels rise by one meter, the model predicts that most of the Macau peninsula will fall within the highest-risk zone. Additionally, significant flooding is anticipated at the airport and Cotai, a region known for housing major casino hotels.
The sea level rise in the Pearl River Delta, which encompasses Macau, Hong Kong, and parts of Guangdong province, already far exceeds the global average. Researchers have estimated that sea levels in Macau could surge by up to 118 centimeters by the end of the century, which is 20% higher than the world average.
The study underscores that the ongoing construction of embankments, combined with Macau's low altitude and relatively small size, amplifies the threat posed by rising sea levels driven by climate change. Urgent and comprehensive measures are imperative to safeguard Macau's future against this impending environmental challenge.
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