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Kochi Reckons Devastation From ‘This Second Itself’, Warn Experts

On the sidelines of the global conferences ahead of the Paris Conference on climate change in December, a preliminary idea of what happens 100 years after, if the nations fail to reach an agreement — that Kochi City in Kerala would submerge in the Ocean.

The sea levels rise due to global warming and within 100 years huge swathes of coastal land in backwaters of Kerala, especially of Kochi, the second most populous city will submerge in the ocean, say scientists of the Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography (NIO).

The scientists of NIO R. Mani Murali and P.K. Dinesh Kumar, have projected inundatation scenarios with satellite imagery techniques coupled with a digital elevation model, which has popped up the Kochi coast as the worst victim as it has “expanded rapidly and heavily stressed from environmental perspectives”.

For their study, the scientists have simulated two scenarios — one-metre and two-metre sea level rise — in view of the IPCC projections, which actually predict 0.5 metre to two-metres in a century from now.

Evacuated people from Yemen in an Indian Air Force (IAF) C-17 aircraft reached at Kochi on April 02, 2015.(PIB Photo)

File Photo: Evacuated people from Yemen in an Indian Air Force (IAF) C-17 aircraft reached at Kochi on April 02, 2015.(PIB Photo)

“For the sea level rise scenarios of 1m and 2m, the total inundation zones were estimated to be 169.11 km2 and 598.83 km2 respectively using Geographic Information System (GIS). The losses of urban areas were estimated at 43 km2 and 187 km2 for the 1m and 2m sea level rise respectively which is alarming,” said the researchers.

Kochi, the second most populous city in Kerala with huge maritime, fishing, recreational, medical tourism and Kerala tourism, has a coastline of around 48 km that is fast emerging as the costal city on the Arabian sea.

Since the city has already allowed serious violation of the rules of Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) in Kerala, the result would be devastating, warn the authors.Leaving aside the hinterland, which will equally get affected, the authors have noted that the state authorities and other stakeholders should gear up for rising sea levels from “this second itself”.

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