09 March 2010

Sea level rise in Singapore: what effects?

By 2100, sea levels could rise by between 24 and 65cm, according to a study by Tropical Marine Science Institute at the National University of Singapore (NUS).
What areas in Singapore could be affected by sea level rise?
From Sea Level Rise Explorer, the low lying areas in Singapore include Changi Airport (above).

As well as the Central Business District, Marina Bay and Sentosa Cove.
And Jurong Island as well as the Western coastline where our container and shipping facilities are located.
And the Semakau Landfill as well.
Besides coastal flooding especially during storms, rising sea levels also increase the risk of flooding (remember how flooding usually coincides with high spring tides?) and salt water intrusion in freshwater supplies.

Rising sea levels have the potential to impact Singapore's key economic drivers, and important installations and facilities that support our dense urban population.

The findings of the study, which was peer reviewed by a team of international experts, were revealed in Parliament yesterday by Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Yaacob Ibrahim.

What is Singapore doing about sea level rise?
According to the reports:
Dr Yaacob said many of the adaptation measures to cope with the anticipated effects based on the study were already in place. These include, for example, a requirement since the early 1990's for reclaimed land to be built at a height of 125cm above the highest measured tidal level, as a buffer against rising sea levels.

To cope with floods, the minister said Singapore would expand its network of water sensors and redesign drainage systems to cope with freak weather events.
These adaptation measures are not different from what has been mentioned in the past.

Any other findings by the study?
The study also indicates that the average daily temperature here could rise by 2.7 and 4.4 deg C from the present average of 26.8 deg C. The study, however, found "no discernible trend in rainfall patterns over the next century."

Full media articles on wildsingapore news.

Full text of the Parliamentary proceedings will appear later (usually 7 days later) on the Hansard. I'll keep an eye out for it.

Text of Statements by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, and Dr Amy Khor, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Committee of Supply Debate, 8 Mar 2010 from the MEWR website

Singapore’s Vulnerability to Climate Change
(Minister Yaacob Ibrahim)

1-32. In 2007, NEA commissioned a study involving local and foreign experts to understand our vulnerabilities to climate change.

1-33. The first phase of the study covering the physical impacts of climate change has concluded. The results have been peer reviewed by international experts who noted that the study adopted well-established methodologies and that the findings are plausible.

1-34. The study projects that the average daily temperature in Singapore could increase by between 2.7 to 4.2oC from the current average of 26.8oC by 2100 and the mean sea level around Singapore could rise by 24 to 65 cm by 2100. These findings are within the range of our expectations and consistent with global projections by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

1-35. These findings are not the last word on this subject as climate science is a complex and evolving subject. We are not certain, for instance, about the impact of ice sheet melting. NEA will continue to keep abreast of developments in this area. We will improve our understanding as more information and data become available and climate change models become more robust.

1-36. As a result of our long-term approach to infrastructure planning, we already have some measures in place which will help address the potential impacts of climate change. For example, PUB’s current requirements for reclaimed land to be constructed to a platform level of 125cm above the highest tide level should give us an adequate buffer against the projected sea level rise in the short to medium term. In addition, we are enhancing our response to the impact of floods by expanding our network of water level sensors, and we will be studying if our drainage design standards need to be revised to cater for heavier storms.

1-37. NEA has embarked on a second phase of the Vulnerability Study to investigate in detail the impacts of climate change on public health, urban temperature and urban biodiversity. This will inform future adaptation measures that the government will put in place to address the longer term impacts of climate change. MND leads an inter-agency Adaptation Taskforce to review the sufficiency of Singapore’s existing adaptation measures and identify new measures as necessary.


Related posts
Media articles about rising seas and Singapore
More media articles about rising seas in general

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