Within the next 100 years, global sea levels are expected to rise by at least 1 meter and swallow up coastal towns and cities – a reality from which the Middle East is not exempt. Already geoscientists from the German University of Technology have noted that in certain parts of the Gulf country Oman – the landmass is sinking and shrinking, Gulf News reports.
Using LiDAR (light detection and ranging instruments) technology in a collaborative study with RWTH Aachen University, the scientists found that land losses of a few millimeters occur each year – particularly between Muscat and the beachfront resort Sifah.
They also warned that this discovery should influence coastal development policy, but according to the paper, ocean front housing units are currently under construction and an integrated tourism project that will initiate even further construction along the Gulf.
Hotel owners astride the Dead Sea in Israel learned the hard way that higher water levels are a formidable foe that can only be defeated by setting buildings further away from the sea shore.
Other cities affected by rising sea levels
Oman is not alone. Other coastal cities throughout the Middle East are also vulnerable to rising sea levels. Further up the Gulf, Dubai’s shoreline is cluttered with hundreds of skyscrapers and other costly development projects and in Alexandria saline water is already interfering with the city’s freshwater supply.
It was also noted that Oman could be hit with a tsunami. According to historical records presented by Gulf News, in 1945 then Sultan Saeed Al Saeed wrote that five days after a small earthquake, a tsunami swept ashore, leaving behind molluscs and other sea species in a nearby lagoon.
If we learn nothing else from last year’s tsunami in Japan, at least we should learn this: it’s folly to think that we can control mother nature. We might not be able to stem the tide of higher sea levels, but at least we can permanently disband any seaside construction projects that we know will not survive the next 100 years.
:: Gulf News
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