Coastal flooding in Bengal Bay

by Luca Catalano Gonzaga

Bengal Bay is the area of the world that is most affected by climate change. The cyclones, floods and monsoons that annually hit Bengal Bay cause the destruction of harvests and devastation of entire villages. Climate change and extreme environmental events often lead to migration flows. In fact, every year, several movements of population from rural to urban areas cause new environmental problems, not least in the country’s fast growing urban slums. The decision to migrate is often spurred by the will to avoid any further damages caused by natural disasters which are cyclical, such as floods. In addition to normal patterns of flooding within Bangladesh, increasing sedimentation in rivers due to reduced sediment deposition on flood plains protected by embankments has become a problem. Many believe that climate change could further exacerbate this issue trough increased monsoon rainfalls and retarded discharge of rivers due to the rise of sea levels. Climate change is expected to aggravate coastal erosion primarily trough rising sea-levels, but also through changes to river flows and other hydrological dynamics. In the 21st century Bangladesh will most likely lose about 17.5 per cent of its landmass, with a one meter rise in sea level due to global warming.

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