China’s sea level rose 1.6 centimeters last year, the second highest on record, according to an annual government report.
The sea level was 11.1 cm higher than the average from 1975 to 1993, according to a report released by the State Oceanic Administration on Feb 28. The record figure in 2012 was 12.2 cm higher.
Since 1980, the sea in China has risen an average of 3 mm a year, much higher than the world average, the report said.
Experts said the situation was caused by global warming, and the impact last year was more evident in the West Pacific Ocean, which includes China’s coastal regions.
“But the rising sea level and the impact on our territory is not as bad as people have imagined. It is far from submerging most of our coastal areas,” said SOA official Qu Tanzhou.
“It poses a more serious threat to island countries. Further research is needed to learn about the global impact of rising sea levels.”
More than 70 percent of the world’s population live on coastal plains and 11 of the world’s 15 largest cities are on the coast or estuaries.
Though the coastal areas in China are not in danger of disappearing due to rising sea levels, the trend does worsen the impact of various marine disasters, which cost the country 13.6 billion yuan ($2.1 billion) and 24 lives last year. Typhoon Rammasun alone cost about 8 billion yuan.
Guangdong and Hainan provinces and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region are the most affected regions.
SOA spokesman Shi Qingfeng suggested authorities in coastal cities take the rise in sea levels into account in land use and economic development plans to alleviate damage caused by storms, erosion, salinization and seawater encroachment.