Washington: India’s financial capital Mumbai, one of the largest and most densely populated cities in the world, is at risk of being submerged by 2050, according to a study that gives new estimates on the impact of rising sea levels.
India and other Asian countries, including Bangladesh and Indonesia, may see a five to ten-fold increase in the population living below the projected high tide line by the end of the century, added the study published in the journal ‘Nature Communications’.
Published on, the study put together estimates of future water level rise with current projections of population density increase in major parts of the world.
Much of the southern parts of Mumbai may sink at least once a year below the projected high tide line – the mark on coastal lands up to which the highest high tide reaches in a year – by mid century, the ‘New York Times’ said in a report based on the study.
“Built on what was a series of islands, the Mumbai’s historic downtown core is particularly vulnerable,” the NYT said. It also published a series of maps showing parts of Mumbai as well as Bangkok and Shanghai submerged by 2050. Mumbai has a population of 12.5 million, according to the last census in 2011.
The research was published by Scott A Kulp and Benjamin H Strauss of ‘Climate Central in the US’, a non-profit news organisation comprising scientists and journalists that analyses and reports on climate science, and contains new estimates on the impact of rising sea levels.
It noted that three times as many people may be affected as earlier projections estimated.
According to the researchers, nearly 250 million people around the world currently live on land that may go below water levels during annual floods.
By the new estimate, the researchers wrote in the study, one billion people now occupy land that is less than 10 metres above current high tide lines, including 250 million below one metre.