Rants and raves about stuff happening in and around my life in Singapore

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bangkok the New Atlantis

7:00 AM By Barry Smyth , 2 comments

The Thai capital, built on swampland, is slowly sinking and the floods currently besieging Bangkok could be merely a foretaste of a grim future as climate change makes its impact felt, experts say ….


…. The low-lying metropolis lies just 30 kilometers (18 miles) north of the Gulf of Thailand, where various experts forecast sea level will rise by 19 to 29 centimeters (7 to 11 inches) by 2050 as a result of global warming.

Water levels would also increase in Bangkok's main Chao Phraya river, which already overflows regularly.

If no action is taken to protect the city, "in 50 years... most of Bangkok will be below sea level," said Anond Snidvongs, a climate change expert at the capital's Chulalongkorn University. But global warming is not the only threat. The capital's gradual sinking has also been blamed on years of aggressive groundwater extraction to meet the growing needs of the city's factories and its 12 million inhabitants.

As a result Bangkok was sinking by 10 centimeters a year in the late 1970s, according to a study published last year by the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

That rate has since dropped to less than one centimeter annually, they said, thanks to government measures to control groundwater pumping.

If those efforts continued, the report authors said, they hoped the subsidence rate could slow by another 10 percent each year.
But Anond disputed their projections, saying Bangkok was still sinking at "an alarming rate" of one to three centimeters per year.

While scientists may argue over the exact figures, they agree about what lies in store for the sprawling mega-city.

"There is no going back. The city is not going to rise again," said the ADB's lead climate change specialist David McCauley.
Faced with the combined threats of land subsidence and rising temperatures and sea levels, the World Bank has predicted that Bangkok's flood risk will increase four-fold from now by 2050.

And the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has classified the Thai capital among the 10 cities in the world facing the biggest potential impact from coastal flooding by 2070 (Singapore was 79th on the list just in case you may have been wondering).

For now, Bangkok is relying on a complex system of dykes, canals, locks and pumping stations to keep the rising waters at bay.
The flood protection efforts, however, failed to prevent an onslaught of run-off water from the north from swamping at least one-fifth of the capital and according to the experts things are only going to get worse.

I for one am keeping my fingers crossed that they are wrong since I happen to love the City of Bangkok, but I guess over the coming years we will start to see for ourselves if their predications are correct.

Until then, I guess its a case of wait and see if Bangkok will become the new Atlantis or not.


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2 comments:

  1. problem with water is you can't stop it...sad

    ReplyDelete
  2. unfortunately, Bangkok is just one place in this world which is changing everyday because of the climate changes... and where is not water, it is fire or wind :(

    ReplyDelete