There is no threat of Mumbai getting submerged due to possible rise in sea level, the government said in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday while urging MPs to have belief in Indian scientists and their data produced in this regard that is “rated best in the entire world.”
Responding to a series of queries by Congress and Samajwadi Party members during the Question Hour, Minister of Earth Sciences Harsh Vardhan said that the question of Mumbai being submerged has arisen due to media reports based on something said outside the country.
“Whatever we are saying is based on the reports of our scientists and the data produced by them are rated best in the whole world. There is no reason for you to worry about Mumbai. Mumbai is not going to be submerged,” he said in the Upper House.
The Minister said that the available data and model studies do not indicate inundation in a major part of southern Mumbai occurring at least once a year during 2040-50, as published in an international study report.
At Mumbai coast, the average rise of sea level has been around 0.74 mm per year based on the tide gauge data collected during 1878-2005. Accordingly, the sea level at Mumbai coast will increase by 33.3 mm or 3.33 cm from the current level in 2050, he said.
This has been estimated by the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Service (INCOIS) based on the long term trends in sea level change using data recorded by the sea level gauge of Mumbai located at Apollo Bandar, he added.
‘Our Scientists Rated No. 1 Today’
To another query on whether the government was playing down the issue, the Minister said, “I must tell you, this is the same country which was literally caught unaware in 2004 when we had tsunami. Today, the data that we produce for early warnings of tsunami are rated as number one in the world.”
He continued, “India is also sharing data on cyclone with other countries along the coast. So, there is no reason why we should doubt the capability of our scientists. We are officially rated number one in the world today.”
Stating that the direct impact of sea level rise on coastal cities is not worked out, the Minister said that the coastal vulnerability maps prepared by the INCOIS based on the assessment of probable implications to the coast due to sea level rise suggests that “Mumbai region does not come under very high vulnerable class.”
Vardhan further stated, “The slow rise in sea level alone may not impact the coasts immediately, but the sea level rise can exacerbate the impacts of coastal hazards such as storm surge, tsunami, coastal flooding, high waves and coastal erosion in the low lying coastal areas.”