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Rising sea levels

Health effects of rising sea levels in Bangladesh and Ghana

Read this text before watching the video above.

As the earth warms, the ice frozen in glaciers and at the poles will melt into the oceans. The added volume of water – and the expansion that comes from water warming – will cause the world’s oceans to rise slowly over the coming century.

People living at the coast will experience storm surges, coastal erosion, saline intrusion, and submergence (IPCC Chapter 5). Small island nations will be directly impacted by sea level rise, coral bleaching, ocean acidification and reductions in tourist numbers (IPCC Chapter 5).

The combined effects of sea level rise and extreme weather events will increasingly challenge our capacity to maintain transportation networks and energy infrastructure, and provide fresh water (IPCC Chapter 12). Cities in the Asian megadeltas are particularly exposed to infrastructure failures and systemic risks (IPCC Chapter 19). Rural populations in developing countries are especially vulnerable to the combined effects of climate change, under-investment in agriculture, land and natural resource policy, and processes of environmental degradation (IPCC Chapter 9).

This video shows the effects of rising sea levels that have already occurred in Ghana and Bangladesh, displacing coastal communities and forcing migration.


D. McCoy and N.Watts. 2015. Climate Change: Health Impacts and Opportunities a Summary and Discussion of the IPCC Working Group 2 Report.

IPCC, 2014: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Field, C.B., V.R. Barros, D.J. Dokken, K.J. Mach, M.D. Mastrandrea, T.E. Bilir, M. Chatterjee, K.L. Ebi, Y.O. Estrada, R.C. Genova, B. Girma, E.S. Kissel, A.N. Levy, S. MacCracken, P.R. Mastrandrea, and L.L.White (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, 1132 pp.

For suggestions for further reading, please see the ‘See Also’ section at the end of this page.’

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