Nature and Biodiversity

Flooding is on track to affect another 160 million people a year 

Sea levels have risen by around ten centimeters since 1993, according to NASA.

Sea levels have risen by around ten centimeters since 1993, according to NASA. Image: Unsplash/Thomas Vimare

Anna Fleck
Data Journalist, Statista
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  • Sea levels have increased by about ten centimeters since 1993, says NASA.
  • This has partly been driven by rising temperatures making ice sheets and glaciers melt faster.
  • Another factor is that seawater expands as it gets warmer.
  • An estimated 200 million people will live below the sea level line by 2100.

Sea levels have risen by around ten centimeters since 1993, according to NASA. As our chart shows, water levels have risen fairly consistently since that time, at around 3.5mm year on year. This increase is driven by two processes, both related to climate change. Firstly, rising temperatures are making ice sheets and glaciers melt faster, leading to greater runoff than before. And secondly, when seawater warms, it expands. NASA follows sea level changes and their causes via satellite observations from space.

Sea level: on the rise

The scientific journal Nature Communications has forecast that 200 million people will live below the sea level line by 2100, and an additional 160 million will be affected by higher annual flooding due to rising water levels. Researchers estimate that 70 percent of the people to be most affected will live in Asia, with 20 percent, or 43 million, living in China.

In Europe, the Hague, Amsterdam and London are expected to be hit the hardest. For more information on the topic, check out The Statista Dossier Plus "Rising seas and real estate in Europe."

A chart showing sea level rise since 1993 (in millimeters)
Sea levels are continuing their upward path Image: Statista/NASA
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