Large swathes of deltas along China's shore are threatened by
erosion as sea levels rise, oceanic authorities said.
"A total of 2,500 square kilometers of land at Laizhou Bay gave
way to sea water last year, when the waterfront moved 45 kilometers
inland at the furthest," said Wang Shicheng, an oceanic official in
the eastern Shandong Province on Friday.
A growing area of the low-lying shoreline of Laizhou Bay off the
Bohai Sea has been seriously salinized, rendering it unsuitable for
farm produce or fish breeding, said the deputy head of the Shandong
According to the 2007 Sea Level Bulletin released by the State
Oceanic Administration earlier this month, the rises in sea levels
along China's shores have gained speed in recent years, as climate
change intensifies. Meanwhile, coastal areas in north and south
China had more frequent abnormal temperature rises and oceanic
Wang said that the water temperature of China's Bohai Sea and
Yellow Sea rose by 1.1 degree and 1.8 degree Celsius, respectively,
year-on-year in March last year, while the sea level for each
surged by 0.102 meter and 0.148 meter.
"High tides generated by the strongest wind storm in 38 years
rolled over 2 meters high on the coast. The tide flush-in induced
direct economic losses of 2.1 billion yuan," said Wang, a prominent
Chinese oceanographer. The damage was equivalent to about 291
million U.S. dollars.
China's total sea level rise in the past 30 years was 0.09 meter
on average. Among all coastal areas, the northern city of Tianjin,
which lies along the Bohai Sea, saw the fastest speed of sea level
rise, with a total increase of 0.196 meter, while Shanghai, in the
east, had a rise of 0.115 meter, according to the Bulletin.
The State Oceanic Administration has warned Tianjin that its
coastal embankment is not solid enough to withstand strong tides,
as a result of the continuous rise of the sea level.
Wang said that the melting of polar glaciers due to global
warming had been recognized as the direct cause of global sea level
"The sea level off Shandong would continue to rise by 0.029
meters in the next decade," said Wang.
The administration expects that nationally, the sea level along
China's coast would rise 0.032 meter on average in the next
On the southern coast, many freshwater reservoirs have been
contaminated by sea water, and large areas of fertile mangrove
disappeared due to shoreline erosion and offshore pollution.
(Xinhua News Agency February 22, 2008)