May 19, 2013 | 01:03 AM (BD Time)
19 May, 2013 Sunday
Climate change impact
25,000 sq km may go under sea water
. BSS, Dhaka
One meter rise in the sea level anticipated by 2100 may lead to inundation of the country's 25,000 Sq. km of lands which is 17.5 percent of total landmass, research findings say. Over 31.5 million people currently living in the low-lying areas of the country are expected to go under water in the next decades due to sea level rise.
The prediction was made by the Unnayan Onneshan, a leading multidisciplinary research organization of the country. "On an average 25 percent, 3 percent and 2 percent population are displaced by floods, droughts and cyclones respectively," the climate research group said.
The Unnayan Onneshan estimates that every year more than half a million (598,450) people migrate temporarily due to drought while at least one lac thirty thousand (1, 30,000) people may be displaced due to river bank erosion.
Professor Rashed Al Mahmud Titumir, Chairperson of the research organization, told BSS that the sea level rise is possibly the biggest threat to the Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forest.
"The climate change also affects rainfall pattern which in turn impacts fresh water inflow in the Sundarbans," he said. The sea level rise by four centimeter per decade is consistent with the 4th Inter Government Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) report and local tidal gauge records, the organization estimates that the Sundarbans may have a 28 cm increase in sea level around 2070.
Another recent study showed that surface water temperature has been rising at the rate of 0.5 degree Celsius per decade in the past three decades in the Sundarbans, eight times the rate of global warming rate of 0.06 degree Celsius per decade that makes the Sundarbans one of the worst climate change hotspots in the globe.
The study found a change of 1.5 degrees Celsius from 1980 to 2007, indicates a clear challenge to the survival of flora and fauna in the world's largest mangrove forest.
Climate change induced tropical cyclones' consecutive attack (Sidr in 2007 and Aila in 2009) has already caused a huge damage to the Sundarbans including the death of valuable wildlife resources.
"We're seeing the early manifestation of global warming. The long term risk is that rising temperatures will melt glaciers and polar ice caps, raising the sea level and displacing coastal residents worldwide," Prof. Titumir said. "The flow of climate refugees to date is in thousands, and if we do not quickly reduce CO2 emissions, it may be millions one day," he observed.
He said Bangladesh is a 'frontline state' of climate change and predicted that it would become one of the first and hardest hit countries toward facing the adverse impacts of warmer global temperatures due to its unique geographical location and dominance of floodplains and low elevation from the sea.
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