Sea swamps Bangladesh at one of world’s fastest rates

Sea swamps Bangladesh at one of world’s fastest rates

Government scientists say rising seas driven by climate change are drowning Bangladesh’s densely populated coast at one of the fastest global rates, and at least a million people on the coast will be forced to relocate within a generation.

“Few countries experience the far-reaching and diverse effects of climate change as intensely as Bangladesh,” Abdul Hamid, director general of the environment department, wrote in a report last month.

The three-part study calculated the low-lying South Asian nation was experiencing a sea level rise in places more than 60 percent higher than the global average.

By 2050, at present rates of local sea level rise, “more than one million people may have to be displaced”, it read, based on a quarter of a century of satellite data from the US space agency NASA and its Chinese counterpart CNSA.

Most of the country’s coastal areas are a meter or two above sea level, and storms bring seawater further inland, turning wells and lakes salty and killing crops on once fertile land.

Cyclones – which have killed hundreds of thousands of people in Bangladesh in recent decades – are becoming more frequent as well as growing in intensity and duration due to the impact of climate change, scientists say.

In April, the nation of around 170 million people experienced the hottest month, and the most sustained heat wave temperatures, in its history.