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Global warming accelerates rising sea level in China
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A Chinese ocean expert Wednesday predicted that the global warming will speed up the invasion of seawater into the country's coastal areas.

By 2030, the sea level along China's coastline will be raised by 0.1 to 0.4 meter. By 2050, it will be raised by 0.3 to 0.6 meter and by 2100, it will be raised by 0.4 to 0.9 meter.

Zhou Qiulin, professor with the Third Institute of Oceanography of State Oceanic Administration (SOA), made the warning at a lecture given in Peking University on Wednesday.

During the past 50 years, the accelerating speed of sea level in China had exceeded the average global speed and the Bohai Rim, Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta have been the worst affected regions, the professor said, citing observation statistics from the SOA.

So far the sea level's rising has destroyed 70 percent of China's sand beaches and the coastlines are drawing back at an increasing speed in different regions, he told the audience, hoping that the worsening situation could arouse public awareness to preserve ecosystem in the ocean.

Zhou believed that the rising sea level had also caused more frequent storm tides in China's coastal areas. For instance, in the past decade the Yangtze River Delta was affected by storm tides 2.5 times more than in previous decades.

At the east bank of Liaodong Bay in northeast China's Bohai, the coastline is retreating toward the shore at an annual speed of 15 meters. Between 1998 and 2002, some parts of the coastline areas on Hainan island retreated by 80 meters, according to Zhou.

The professor warned that the rising sea level has increased the standard of tide prevention and anti-tide projects designed for century-long protection before were unable to resist an astronomical tide which occurs about every 18 years.

"The ocean has significant meanings for a sustainable economic and social development in China and the lack of oceanic awareness has become an important obstacle for the country's maritime development," Zhou said.

(Xinhua News Agency May 14, 2009)

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