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Event Details

Sea-level Rise event report

Category: Sea-level Rise
Observation: 22.02.2010
Continent: Asia
Country: Pakistan
State: State of Sindh
Area: Coastal areas
Severity: Hight
Event details
The mysterious high tide along the coastal belt of Sindh since last week that is unusual at this time of the year, has panicked fishermen and coastal area residents, who are concerned that this phenomenon could be a sign of a natural disaster in the making. Officials of the Pakistan Meteorological Department claim that the situation could be a result of climate change. Residents said that the unusual high tide has inundated several coastal areas of Karachi, Thatta and Badin. “The high tide suddenly appeared in the sea last week which was calm before and the sea level suddenly rose to unprecedented levels,” said Zubeda Birwani, director of Trust for Conservation of Coastal Resources (TCCR), an organisation of the fishing community that has recently initiated a study on climate change impact on coastal communities. “Ibrahim Hyderi and Rehri Goth in Karachi and several coastal villages of districts Thatta and Badin were inundated with seawater and this never happened in winter. The sea level rose to a level that has never been witnessed even in summer when high tide is a normal phenomenon,” she said. Birwani said Keti Bunder, Kharo Chhan and other coastal settlements of district Thatta and Badin have also become inundated. The residents of coastal areas told this scribe that the sea was very calm and there was neither a storm in the sea nor any alert about a cyclone. When the sea suddenly turned rough, several fishermen rushed their fishing boats back to the coast. Chief Meteorologist Muhammad Riaz told Daily Times that though high tide in winter is not a normal phenomenon, it has been happening along the Sindh coast for the last few years. “In December we recorded the tide level at 0.5 meters, but on Saturday the tide levels were reported at 1.5 meters ...this sudden change occurred in April 2009 as well when the sea suddenly turned rough,” said Riaz. He said that it is possible that climate change might be responsible for this occurrence. He said the weather pattern has started moving from the southern hemisphere to the north and during this winds have an effect on the sea. “There is no geological activity reported that could be cited as a reason for this phenomenon,” he said. At present there is only one tidal gauge installed at Karachi Port, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has announced it would install more gauges along the coasts of Sindh. Ascertaining the exact level of sea roughness in district Thatta and Badin is not possible until the gauges are installed there. “We informed several government departments, international organisations and authorities, but nobody has bothered to take the issue seriously,” said Birwani. The National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), UNESCO and Pakistan Meteorological Department or any other government department or international organisation has not started a survey to ascertain the cause behind the coastal phenomenon. The NIO is an important public sector department working under the Ministry of Science and Technology, and is functional in Sindh since 1981. It is bound to conduct research on oceanic and atmospheric processes of the north Arabian Sea, and also to ascertain the reasons behind climate changes, but it has failed to conduct any research so far.
Event map:
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