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A recent study published in the Nature Communications journal looks into the raise of the ocean levels and how that could affect cites by the middle of the century. Take a look at why 150 million people are currently living in places that could be underwater in 25 years’ time

Words: Emily Georgieva

PhotographyChantal Lim

23 March 2020

According to an American study several territories could potentially sink underwater by the end of 2015. The possibility of this happening is tightly related to the effects of global warming. Changes in temperatures are noticeable all over the globe and scientists are trying to predict how this could affect mankind in the near future. The results show a potential future that seems a bit terrifying.

American scientists Scott A. Culp and Benjamin Strauss have undergone a study, which shows that the water level in global oceans is rising. The research was backed up by a new method of measuring the effects of water rising. In short, the method works by incorporating satellite data with artificial intelligence to detect measurement faults and work on fixing them.

The study, published in the Nature Communications journal, is focusing on the consequences of the increase in the ocean water levels. According to the data discovered by scientists, several countries are in danger of sinking, most of which are based in Asia. Places such as Shanghai, Bangkok and Mumbai are among the ones that are in highest risk. Although those destinations are far from the only ones addressed by the study, they are the ones expected to sink underwater completely. Some areas in Europe such as Hamburg and Bremen in Germany are also at high rankings on the same list.

The American study collects data from all areas in potential danger. The objective is to determine how many people currently live on the territory of places that could get swallowed by the raising ocean levels. So far, the number is estimated to reach 150 million people worldwide. Coastal cities are among the places that could be affected the worst due to their direct access to the oceans.

Although the published data is carefully studied, this study does not necessary determine the faith of any of the mentioned places. Things could always change. Currently there are multiple cities across continents, which are technically located below sea level, so this is not a phenomenon we haven’t faced before. With the right measurements the sinking cities effect could be reversed, and territories don’t necessarily have to end up underwater.

A future that is defined by climate changes is not a myth, nor is it a possibility any longer. Global warming is already affecting nature and in turn it changes the lifestyle of entire nations. The American study goes beyond proving the hypothesis that cities might sink by the middle of the century. It also suggests that in order to take the correct measurements, the territories of the affected cities must be evacuated soon. This could lead to more migration cycles and consequently it could create more global humanitarian crisis to be solved. However, if we take the correct measurements, the devastating scenario of underwater cities could have less severe consequences than what is currently predicted.

There are many locations that need your attention and can benefit from tourism and conscious travelling. We made a quick list notifying the must-see places that need to be on your radar if you are a passionate nomad.


I. The Great Barrier Reef – a place that attracts a lot of attention, the reef has been negatively impacted by changes in the climate that cause a bleach of the corals. The living condition have changed making it impossible for many animals to continue to exist there. The reef is expected to disappear within a decade.

II. The North Pole - the ice in the North Pole is melting. This is not something that has just now started to happen, however, the effects from it are starting to show now more than ever before. Expeditions to the North Pole have been successfully completed by many scientists and explorers in the past but with the ice melting with disturbingly fast rates, it may be the case that the last human navigated expedition to the North Pole is already a history.

III. Kilimanjaro – the Tanzanian peaks of Kilimanjaro are poetic and leave a sense of respect in anyone who’s seen them. Climbing them is as much challenging as it is rewarding. The peaks won’t look the same once the snow disappears. The ice from mountain peaks is significantly lower than it has been in the past. It is estimated that 85% of the snow covering the peaks of Africa’s highest mountain has already melted.

NOTE: Recently, upon the virus lock-down, dolphins have been noticed swimming in Venice canals and the water appears to be visually cleaner. The clean waterways are among some of the good news that come during such uncertain times and we cannot be happier to see nature reviving itself.


A feature about Venice disappearing underwater in the next century is included as part of our CLIMATE CHANGE Issue. Some facts from it are included in this article. To read more and explore more content influenced by this topic, shop the Climate Change Issue.



NOMADSofORIGIN is an independent annual publication with a focus on sustainable travelling and global cultural values. Each issue features interviews, engaging articles and photo guides, which take our nomadic readers through different destinations and introduce them to local people's perspectives.



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