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Cities gone underwater by 2050? Rising sea levels study an ‘overestimation,’ Malaysian authorities say

KUALA LUMPUR — The National Hydraulic Research Institute of Malaysia (Nahrim) has today rebuked media reports quoting think tank Centre for Governance and Political Studies (Cent-GPS) on rising sea levels and how it affects the nation’s shifting shorelines.

Cities gone underwater by 2050? Rising sea levels study an ‘overestimation,’ Malaysian authorities say

Using digital elevation model CoastalDEM, Malaysian think tank Cent-GPS predicted that several places in Malaysia, including Muar (above), will be flooded by 2050.

KUALA LUMPUR — The National Hydraulic Research Institute of Malaysia (Nahrim) on Sunday (Nov 10) rebuked media reports quoting Kuala Lumpur-based think tank Centre for Governance and Political Studies (Cent-GPS) on rising sea levels and how it affects Malaysia's shifting shorelines.

In a media statement, Nahrim said through the Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry (KATS) that the study titled “Elevation Data Triple Estimates of Global Vulnerability to Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Flooding” had “overestimated” the effects of rising sea levels in Malaysia.

“Please do note that the analysis method used in the study is only suitable for general assessment at the global level and does not reflect coastal flooding conditions in Malaysia,” it said.

“The study used a combination of sea-level rise data and occurrence of floods on higher elevation which will happen simultaneously which led to the possibility for coastal areas to be eroded and dissipated compared to the actual area involved

“And the studies are (also) based on static topographic models without taking into account dynamic factors such as existing coastal protection and flood mitigation structures that are available and others that will be carried out by KATS via JPS,’’ it added, referring to the Drainage and Irrigation Department under the same ministry.

The research was originally carried out by Mr Scott A. Kulp and Mr Benjamin H. Strauss from independent research organisation Climate Central and published in the journal Nature.

Using CoastalDEM — the same digital elevation model used in the research by Mr Kulp and Mr Strauss — Cent-GPS tweeted a thread of its predictions last week that several cities will be flooded by 2050 including Muar, Pekan, Bagan Datoh, Teluk Intan, and Kuala Selangor.

The bipartisan think tank also predicted that the northern town of Alor Setar will be turned into an island, while areas along Parit Buntar and Taiping will be underwater.

The Twitter thread was later picked up by several media including Malay daily Sinar Harian, prompting Nahrim’s response today.

In the statement, Malaysia's Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry added that is constantly aware and vigilant regarding the effects of rising sea levels. The ministry added that its Drainage and Irrigation Department has adopted proactive measures by building protective coastal structures since 1986.

The Drainage and Irrigation Department also has created an Erosion Hazard Map, among other disaster management plans, to combat the effects of rising sea levels.

As such, the Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry advised the general public not to be alarmed or affected by the research. MALAY MAIL

Related topics

flooding Malaysia climate change global warming

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