Rising sea levels caused by climate change and global warming are an increasing threat to the Netherlands, so the Dutch have started using an innovative device, a storm surge barrier to protect against them. The world’s largest storm surge barrier was built in the south of the country, at Maeslantkering.
Rotterdam is particularly exposed to the vicissitudes of weather; when a storm comes, seawater rises higher and higher, and if it comes up above three metres, which is dangerous for the city, the surge barrier has to be closed. The massive steel structure is protecting many other towns and low-lying agricultural lands along with Rotterdam.
So far, the barrier has only had to be fully closed twice, but with rising sea levels, this is expected to occur more frequently in the future.
A significant portion of the territory of the Netherlands is below sea level, so the storm surge barrier is not the only measure they use to prepare for the consequences of rising sea levels. Innovation is also required in crop production and animal husbandry, such as the creation of urban roof gardens and floating animal pens.
“Ice is the canary in the global coal mine. It’s the place where we can see and touch and hear and feel climate change in action.” Internationally recognised nature photographer James Balog believes it is extremely important to pay attention to the processes underway in the polar regions.
The melting of glaciers has broken new records in Switzerland this year; they lost two percent of their ice mass this summer, while over the last five years, they have lost 10 percent of their volume altogether, which is unprecedented in the existing records spanning over 100 years.
The typhoon raging in Japan has claimed more than fifty lives; the number of injured has exceeded two hundred.
As a result of climate change, humanity is expected to face growing numbers of destructive storms in the future.
The rising sea levels and melting permafrost caused by climate change are causing crisis situations in a number of places around the world, resulting in tens of thousands of people having to leave their homes, while important agricultural areas also fall victim to the changes.
Climate change is causing severe problems in Antarctica, too: recently, a piece of ice weighing 315 billion tonnes broke off the area, while scientists investigating satellite images covering an area of 5 million square kilometres found tens of thousands of meltwater lakes, which indicates severe problems.
Massive snowstorms hit a number of north-western and northern states of the USA on 29 September.
Monsoon rain accompanied by storms and lightning hit the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in India on 27 September. Tempestuous winds toppled trees and utility poles and tore off roofs, killing more than a hundred people.
On 24 September, the Fondazione Montagna Sicura (Safe Mountain Foundation) issued an avalanche warning on the Planpincieux Glacier, which is located on the eastern slope of the Grandes Jorasses peak.
More than a thousand people were evacuated or rescued in Houston, Texas, the most populous city in Texas and the fourth most populous city in the United States on 19 September due to Tropical Storm Imelda.