Research Says Nearly 50% of Chinese Major Cities Are Sinking

Nearly half of China’s major cities are sinking, posing flood risks as sea levels rise, a study based on nationwide satellite data revealed.

The research, published in Science, found that 45% of China’s urban areas are sinking at rates exceeding 3 millimeters per year, with 16% sinking more than 10 mm yearly.


The reason behind subsidence is attributed to declining water tables and the weight of urban infrastructure.

With China’s urban population surpassing 900 million, even a small portion of sinking land poses a substantial threat, the lead author of the study Ao Zurui from South China Normal University, said. 

Annual Cost To China

Current subsidence costs China over $1.04 billion annually, and projections suggest that by the next century, about 25% of the coastal land could slip below sea levels.

Climate change expert Robert Nicholls claimed the issue is “a national problem and not a problem in just one or two places.”

The Chinese government will have to work extensively to mitigate the problem otherwise it could severely damage the economy in future.

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