How Rising Sea Levels in SE Asia could Impact Singapore

Earth Observatory Blog

How Rising Sea Levels in SE Asia could Impact Singapore

Channel NewsAsia’s documentary titled “Carbon Conundrum” investigates how carbon emissions contribute to rising global temperatures, which lead to rising sea levels and extreme weather events. In the documentary aired on television (channel 106 on Starhub) on 31 March 2020, Assistant Professor Aron Meltzner and his team provided insights on how rising sea levels in the southeast Asian region could impact Singapore.

Asst. Prof Aron Meltzner, a Principal Investigator at the Earth Observatory of Singapore, explains rising sea levels could be exacerbated by climate change (Source: Channel NewsAsia)

Using microatolls (circular colonies of coral) the team is able to track changes in the sea level. A study led by Asst. Prof Meltzner found that more than 6,000 years ago when there was no human-driven climate change, there were fluctuations of about 60 centimetres in sea levels in southeast Asia. He told Channel NewsAsia, “If it happened in the past, it could happen again in the future, it might even be happening today.”

“This is something that would be happening on top of any changes happening globally due to climate change. It means the amount of sea level we could face in the next few decades and in the next century could be much worse than what we’re preparing for.” 

Citing past climate events in Singapore such as the flood in Orchard Road that occurred in 2010, Asst. Prof Meltzner said that “events 10 years ago that were extraordinary are going to become ordinary” as sea levels rise. “The more sea level rises, the less rain you need, the lower the tide needs to be for flooding to occur.”

“The Carbon Conundrum" is also available online and can be viewed here.

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