When Cyclone Aila hit the coast of Bangladesh in May 2009, water swelled over embankments along the Kholpetua river. Sea levels are set to rise, compounding the problem of salt intrusion into groundwater. Tropical cyclones are expected to get more intense and destructive with global warming. In combination, they raise the risk of another devastating storm surge. Over the past two decades, Bangladesh’s rural population has been pouring into its cities. Villages in southwestern Bangladesh are protected from the tidal river by earth embankments. If water breaches the embankment, it can get trapped there, leaving villages swamped for months or years.
“It is very plausible that the amount of carbon put in the atmosphere between today and 2050 will determine whether Bangladesh can even exist in the far future,” says Strauss. Read More