Deadly Rising Sea Levels

By: Andrew Sanchez
Public Radio International

Many places close to the ocean are at risk, due to climate change because ascending temperatures are causing sea-levels to rise. One example of this is a crisis scenario in The Netherlands. One of the Dutch cites that is in imminent danger is Rotterdam, which is almost completely below sea level. Its population of 635,000 is at major risk.

Rotterdam is a very large city, and a very important one too. Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, making it an essential place for the residents of the continent. The city is in a  dangerous location, because it is located about thirty miles away from the North Sea, and is on the massive Rhine River. The city floods frequently, and will flood more, due to rising sea levels. Flooding is a large threat there because the city lies on a flat plain that absorbs water from the Scheldt, Rhine, and Meuse Rivers, making it vulnerable to influx from extreme rainfalls, as well as sea level rises and storms that rise up the Rhine. All the water that surrounds Rotterdam leaves it at a high risk for extreme flooding.

The Earth’s average temperatures have been rising quickly in the past years. The average  temperature on Earth’s surface has risen by 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century. Between 2003 and 2008, 2,921 trillions of pounds of ice melted yearly in Antarctica. The average sea level has been rising by one eighth of an inch each year. This may sound small, but that is only the average sea level. In some areas, the sea levels have risen by much more because these areas are closer to ice or more waterways. The rising temperatures have been wreaking havoc on our oceans and the surrounding areas.

Dutch engineers are trying their best to prevent extreme flooding, with their solution being letting the water flow in. Dutch engineers and architects have devised lakes, parks, and plazas that are a boon to daily life, but also act as massive reservoirs for when the seas and rivers cause flooding. One example of this is a rowing course just outside Rotterdam, where the World Rowing Championships took place last year. This course is about twenty feet below sea level, and it serves as an enormous reservoir for the Rotterdam River Basin when the Rhine overflows. The Rhine will probably overflow once a decade due to climate change.These reservoirs collect giant portions of water and stop flooding, preventing further structural damage.

Global warming is destroying our world as we know it. Higher temperatures are melting our ice caps, causing the oceans to rise. Rotterdam is one example of a city that can be potentially swamped, but the people there are trying their best to find a solution. Rising waters are a serious problem, but not one we can’t solve.

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