Geoscientists Say Oman is Sinking and Shrinking

rising sea levels, melting glaciers, climate change, global warming, oman, development, coastal erosionScientists discover that every year Oman loses a little bit more of its landmass to rising sea levels.

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

More on Rising Sea Levels in the Middle East:

Egypt Moving to Shore up Delta Cities Against Rising Sea Levels

Underwater City Alternative to Floating Islands?

Coastal Erosion Threatens Evolutionary Hotspots in Gulf Region

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6 thoughts on “Geoscientists Say Oman is Sinking and Shrinking”

  1. JTR says:

    All the beautiful greenery you describe was apparently installed to attract tourists, but if the builders are already aware of the immediate local environment, they may also be open to thinking about the long term consideration of rising sea levels. Tell them that to build a prosperous economy is good, but too much of any good thing turns it bad. The environment is everyone’s natural limitation.

  2. Kapil says:

    I’ve been an Omani resident for the best part of 25 years now. Believe me, no one batted an eye-lid regarding this topic / article.

    What’s more disturbing is that construction of water-front properties like this one:||Node=260&LangID=2

    are on the rise.

    This project in particular, is going to take hog off an area with limestone mountains, nature’s purifiers. The diverse sea-life below sheer cliffs is special, and unique. But hey!! Who gives a toss 🙂

    The picture shown above is a coastal town of Sur. It’s a historically important port town, where till date, Dhows (boats) are built by hand. They are made of wood. Omanis have been known as pioneers in exploration, and history suggests that Sindabad was from the above pictured place.

    Much stress is given to environmental issues in Oman, and the city has so much greenery (planted and uses treated water) it’s unbelievable. Heck, where else in the Mid-East would you see wet-lands and marshes filled with herons, egrets and gulls in the middle of the city? Oman has them, and the efforts are laudable

    But unless serious issues like the one which this article mentions, are looked at, all the good work is wasted.

  3. JTR says:

    Maurice Picow,

    They don’t notice because nobody is telling them. Somehow they must be warned, that is, if we really want this planet to go on living.
    The basic problem is overpopulation and pollution. If enough people can be persuaded to safely recycle 100% of all human-generated waste materials, and peacefully reduce the human population with family planning education, then global warming will cool down enough to stop melting the ice caps too fast so the rivers will not run dry and the sea levels will not rise too fast, etc. — hopefully.

  4. Maurice Picow says:

    People who don’t live in coastal areas don’t notice these rising sea levels. Only those in coastal areas notice them; especially island nations like Micronesia and the Maldives. Oman is exposed to the Arabian Sea, which is actually part of the Indian Ocean. This gives their coast line even more exposure to the ravages of sea erosion.

    1. Time for underwater cities or floating islands?

  5. JTR says:

    How many people think about the next 100 years? The beach front developers are in the same business as everyone else, making money, which seldom requires more than a 5 year prospectus. But they probably love their children and want a prosperous future for them, which requires a view of the next 15-20 years. But if 7 billion people (and counting) are polluting the Earth to ecocide and extinction, as the scientists warn, then their children have no future at all, nor do any of us whoever we are. That’s what we need to tell everybody, before it’s too late!

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