Ground Report | New Delhi: The sea level around the Lakshadweep Islands may rise at the rate of 0.4 to 0.9 mm per year due to the impact of global warming. The information has come to the fore in recent research published in the journal Regional Studies in Marine Science in which it has been estimated in different scenarios for greenhouse gases. The study said that this can have an effect on the airports and houses present there.
The study highlights that the way the temperature is increasing around the world and the climate is changing, due to which the sea level is also increasing. It is one of the major climate-related threats in the coming years, with the biggest impact on small islands. However, this is the first time that climate models in different scenarios have been used to estimate the risk of floods due to rising sea levels in the Lakshadweep archipelago in the Arabian Sea.
According to the research, the probability of floods due to rising sea levels will be almost the same in all the emissions scenarios from the worst-case scenario of emissions. Which is expected to affect almost all the islands of this archipelago. All these islands will be sensitive to the rising water level and its impact.
Ayesha Jenath, Athira Krishnan, Saikat Kumar Paul, Prasad K. A team of scientists, including Bhaskaran, jointly supported by the Department of Architecture and Regional Planning and the Department of Science and Technology from the Department of Ocean Engineering and Naval Architecture, IIT Kharagpur, Government of India under the Climate Change Program (CCP), observed sea-level rise. Studied the climate projections of and related coastal flooding in atoll islands, a ring-shaped coral reef or island.
According to the study, small islands like Chetlat and Amini are expected to suffer large-scale land loss. Projection mapping has shown that about 60 to 70 percent of the existing coastline in Amini Island and 70 to 80 percent of land in Chetlat are likely to be damaged.
Not only this, Minicoy and the capital Kavaratti are also vulnerable to rising sea levels, where there is a possibility of 60 percent loss of land along the existing coastline. However, of all emissions scenarios, Androth Island is projected to have the least impact of rising sea levels.
It is estimated that due to this coastal flooding, this island group may have a large-scale socio-economic impact. According to the researchers, the rising water level in Lakshadweep Islands may also affect the people living on that island because the houses there are very close to the coastline of the sea. Apart from this, the only airport on this archipelago can also be affected by the rising sea, due to which it is likely to suffer heavy losses. It is worth noting that this airport is located on the southern tip of the island of Agatti.
According to research, even in the worst-case scenario, the sea level on this archipelago could rise up to 0.78 meters by the end of the century. Although this estimate is much lower than the IPCC’s forecast of a 0.8 to 2-meter rise in sea level globally, it does not mean that the island is safe from rising sea levels.
In such a situation, according to the researchers, there is a need to make plans and policies keeping in mind the increase in sea level in Lakshadweep Islands in the future and its effects. Along with this, better measures should also be taken for how people and infrastructure living near the coast can be saved from this. This study can be helpful to policymakers in making short- and long-term plans, which will benefit everyone living on the island in the long run.
The authors suggest that appropriate coastal safeguards and best practices are essential to formulate planning guidelines, taking into account the projected sea-level rise impacts for Lakshadweep Islands.
The study also opens a new perspective and dimension on future research to assess the directional nature of wave energy, storm effects in the Arabian Sea region, exposed and sheltered islands, and facilities like potable water, sanitation, etc. The remarkable study has practical significance and can be extremely useful for policymakers and decision-making officials for short-term and long-term planning that benefits the LakshadweepIslands population.