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Asian metropolises under threat from the sea

Manila, Philippines faces increasing risk of coastal flooding

Lawrence Ruiz / Wikimedia Commons

Six megacities in Southeast Asia could be particularly hard hit by rising sea levels caused by the increase in greenhouse gases between now and 2100, according to a study by the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). They are: Chennai (12 million inhabitants) and Calcutta (4.5 million) in India; Yangon (5.2 million) in Myanmar; Bangkok (10 million), Thailand; Ho Chi Minh City (9 million), Vietnam; and Manila (nearly 2 million) in the Philippines. Climate models designed by the researchers projected that in Manila, for example, coastal flooding could become 18 times more frequent by 2100 than in 2006. The Tropical Pacific Islands also emerged as at high risk. According to the study, two Brazilian state capitals — Rio de Janeiro and Belém — are particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels caused by climate change (Nature Climate Change, March 2; NSF Newsletter, April 5).