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Developer ensures islands will be safe from rising sea levels

posted on 02/01/2007: 5811 views

Nakheel says it is following the estimation of international environment experts in determining how to keep its coastal developments safe from submergence as ocean levels rise. The future of the UAE's coast, particularly its manmade islands, was thrown into question last week after two islands in India's Sundarbans were discovered to have been engulfed by rising ocean levels that are the result of global warming.

Nakheel, which is the developer of The Palm islands and The World, says it followed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) estimation of a rise of 30cm to 50cm by 2100 when it prepared its plans for the islands. "It goes without saying that both short and long-term [sea level] rises are always considered in the design of Nakheel coastal projects,” said Dr Louay A Mohammad, a scientist with Nakheel.

"The upper end of the range is adopted by Nakheel, which is in line with International Marine and Coastal Structures Design Practices. We are therefore confident that the sustainability of our waterfront projects is ensured in the long term.” The developer, however, did not comment on the recent report from international ocean expert Stefan Rahmstorf, published in the journal Science, which said the increase was more likely to be 1.4 metres by 2100 – nearly triple the IPCC estimation.

"A sea level rise of one metre or more will threaten the viability of many coastal cities,” Rahmstorf said. Programmes that simulate how ocean rises will look on the global map show the UAE losing a noticeable strip of shore with a single metre rise in water levels, and at two metres the coast would be drastically altered. But breakwaters and dykes are effective in battling rising waters. Weather forecasting, however, is a notoriously difficult science, with climate predictions for many years into the future being even more so.

While most scientists agree that climate change – and rising oceans – is happening, disagreement still exists over exactly how much change will occur. According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2001 report, the average surface temperature is projected to increase by 1.4 to 5.8 degree Celsius between 1990 and 2100, and the sea level is projected to rise by 10cm to 90cm over the same period. (Emirates Today)


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