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Sea-level rise a major threat to India, other nations: WMO

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Environment, Conservation


Source: HT

 Context: The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) cautioned that sea level rise poses a serious threat to both China and India in a report titled “Global Sea-Level Rise and Implications.”


Findings of the “Global Sea-Level Rise and Implications” report:


  • Sea level rise varies regionally
  • It will encroach upon Infrastructure and coastal communities will be encroached upon
  • It affects a number of major cities on every continent: Shanghai, Dhaka, Bangkok, Jakarta, Mumbai, Copenhagen, New York, Buenos Aires, Santiago, etc.
  • Poses a significant economic, social, and humanitarian problem (threatens coastal farmlands, water reserves, the resilience of infrastructures, food-nutrition security, human lives and livelihoods), especially in vulnerable areas.
  • Along with other climate concerns, it will affect coastal ecosystems, related development and beyond 1 billion people by 2050
  • Growing Urbanization in exposed areas will exacerbate the effects.
  • It is reinforced by storm surges and tidal variations as seen during the landfall of hurricane Sandy (New York) and Cyclone Idai (Mozambique)


Reasons behind sea-level rise:

  • Increase in average global temperature (by over 1°C since 1880)
  • Thermal expansion of seawater (leading to mean sea level increasing by ~20 cm)
  • Glacier and ice-sheet melt
  • Changes in groundwater storage.



  • According to the IPCC, melting ice sheets (the largest contributor to sea level change) are hard to predict.
  • By 2150, global sea level rise is estimated to rise by roughly 4, 0.5 and 0.2 m under high, mid and low-emission scenarios, respectively.
  • Limiting 21st-century global surface temperature rise to 2 °C above the pre-industrial level (Paris Agreement’s target) would be insufficient.


Way ahead:

  • A low greenhouse gas emission scenario, with temperatures staying below 1.5 °C
  • Reaching net zero carbon emissions before 2060.
  • Particularly along the coast, urban systems must enable climate-resilient development


World Meteorological Organization (WMO):

●        It is an intergovernmental organisation, which originated from the International Meteorological Organisation (IMO).

●        WMO was created on March 23, 1950 and it became the UN’s specialized organization for fostering international cooperation on

○        Meteorology (weather and climate),

○        Operational hydrology and

○        Related geophysical sciences.

●        The Secretariat (headquartered in Geneva) is headed by the Secretary-General and the WMO’s supreme decision-making body is the World Meteorological Congress.


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