China's sea levels reached new highs in 2021 as a result of global warming
Rising water temperatures and the melting of glaciers and polar icecaps raised China's sea levels to their highest level on record last year, according to the government.
Even though the temperature of China's coastal waters dipped marginally in 2021 compared to the previous year, it was still the third-highest on record and 0.84 degrees Celsius higher than the 1993-2011 average.
The report issued on Saturday warned that increasing sea levels caused by climate change were having a "continuous impact" on coastal development. It further urged authorities to increase monitoring and strengthen early warning and preventive efforts.
Long-term implications of such rises include erosion of coastal ecosystems and the disappearance of tidal flats, while coastal cities face increased flood and salt tide hazards, according to the centre, a research unit of the ministry of natural resources.
The National Marine Environmental Monitoring Center reported in an annual newsletter that coastal sea levels were 84 mm (3.3 inches) higher in 2021 than the average between the years 1993 to 2011.
Last year, the Chinese environment ministry predicted that coastal water levels will rise by another 55 mm to 170 mm (2 inches to 7 inches) over the next 30 years, necessitating a bigger effort on China's part to defend its coastline.
Cities on the country's east coast have begun to prepare for increasing sea levels, with Shanghai's commercial hub considering additional drainage tunnels and tidal gates.
Since 1980, coastal sea levels surrounding China have risen at a pace of 3.4 millimetres (0.13 inches) per year, faster than the global average. The global mean sea level has increased by around 210–240 millimetres (8.2-9.4 inches) since 1880, with nearly a third of it occurring in the previous two and a half decades.