Rising waters are a phenomenon that has increased in recent years due to global warming.

But what is exactly this risk?

Global warming has raised sea levels by about 8 inches since 1880, and the rate of rise is accelerating. Rising sea levels increase the risk of damaging flooding from storm surges.

According to an IPCC report sea level could rise by 1.10m by 2100.

Rising waters are a phenomenon that directly affects coastal cities. In France, cities such as Bordeaux, Rouen, Calais and even Dunkirk are directly threatened by this climatic phenomenon. All the coastal cities in France have 1.4 million inhabitants in 864 municipalities. It is therefore, not an isolated risk.

In the United States, nearly 5 million people live less than 4 feet above high tide, which directly puts you at risk of rising sea levels.

In the 21st century, the rate of sea level rise could be 100 times faster, from 3.6 millimeters per year today to “several centimeters”, and then reach several meters in total by 2300, if none no action has been taken to reduce CO2 emissions.

Coastal planning to cope with rising water

Cities are trying to adapt to rising sea levels by implementing more extensive coastline monitoring. Several options exist to protect the habitat. We can thus cite the installation of dykes, the elevation of housing, the creation of buffer zones, re-silting or even riprap.

Become aware of the risk to better face it

In order to protect yourself against increasingly frequent climatic risks, you must first of all be aware of the risk. Awareness is indeed paramount in protection, because it will allow everyone to take action.

However, awareness of the risk is still low in France. The effects of risk such as those of sea level rise are often invisible and distant.

For a threat to be taken seriously it must be: concrete, immediate and unbearable. However, effective actions against the risk must be taken upstream of the latter and not when it occurs.

However, we note that there is a low awareness of risk in France. Climate risks and specifically those due to global warming such as sea level rise seem abstract and are part of a distant reality.

Thus, according to a study carried out in Palavas les Flots, a French seaside town in 2009, 20% of those questioned declared that they would not leave in the event of rising water.

Similarly, we see that coastal cities continue to attract. According to the National Observatory for the Sea and the Coast, the density of the population on the coast is 25% higher than the national average. In addition and by 2040, 40% of the French population should live in the coastal regions especially around the Mediterranean and on the Atlantic coast.

Rising sea levels are therefore a climatic risk, which must be recognized because it will be a phenomenon for coastal cities which will increase in magnitude for the decades to come and which must be guarded against.

Source: Bilan 2007 des changements climatiques Conséquences, adaptation et vulnérabilité