Thousands forced to flee homes due to rising water levels: Climate Change strikes again.
George Edwards discusses the recent evacuation of over 100,000 people from their homes in Burundi due to rising water levels and how this could happen to the rest of the world if climate change is not stopped.
Over 100,000 people have had to flee their homes in Burundi in recent years due to severe rising water levels of Lake Tanganyika. Tanganyika is one of Africa’s Great Lakes, the world’s longest and second deepest freshwater lake. It runs through Burundi and several other countries, where hundreds of thousands of people live along its shores. However, due to heavy storms and rising temperatures, the lake’s water levels rose from its average 772.7 metres to 776.4 metres in April, flooding hundreds of small villages along its coast. Many factors contribute to flooding, though the warming atmosphere caused by climate change causes extreme rainfall in tropical areas such as the Tanganyika basin.
Not only lakes are being affected by climate change in this way. Global sea levels have risen by 21-24 centimetres since 1880, with over a third of that being just from the last two and a half decades. Rising temperatures are causing glaciers in the poles to melt, releasing vast amounts of water into the oceans. When solidified as ice, water takes up less space, but as soon as it melts, it expands, with the water molecules pushing each other further apart. This expansion of water is also caused by thermal expansion, where warmer temperatures heat up the water, increasing its volume and thereby causing the water levels to rise.
Global sea levels have risen by 21-24 centimetres since 1880.
If we do not find a way to stem rising water levels, several areas all over the world will be affected. It is predicted that by 2100, the cities of New Orleans, Miami, New York and Venice, just to name a few, will be entirely submerged, along with vast areas of Indonesia, Bangladesh and other low-lying areas and islands. Closer to home, we are likely to lose a large part of the Kent coast, along with parts of Cardiff, London, Hull and the south coast to rising water levels possibly even by 2050.
It is predicted that by 2100, the cities of New Orleans, Miami, New York and Venice will be entirely submerged.
Without finding ways to slow down sea level rise, we may end up losing vast areas of land with millions of people losing their homes, livestock and livelihoods, but unfortunately it is not a problem that can be solved overnight. Instead it will require all countries to work together to bring an end to it as soon as possible, before it’s too late.