29 October 2021, by Victoria Séveno
The Dutch Weather Institute (KNMI) has warned that sea levels in the Netherlands are rising at a much faster rate than was initially anticipated. If water levels continue to rise at the current pace, sea levels could rise by 1,2 metres by 2100, instead of the 1 metre predicted in 2014.
The Netherlands faces rising sea levels and more extreme weather
A report published by the KNMI this week assess the risks climate change and global warming pose to the Netherlands in particular, and reveals that the risks the country faces are greater than the institute had predicted a few years ago.
According to the report, if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced soon and the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet accelerates, sea levels will rise by between 1,2 and 2 metres over the next 79 years. A few years ago, the KNMI had predicted a maximum increase of 1 metre.
In addition to rising sea levels, the KNMI expects the Dutch weather will become more extreme as a result of climate change. Their forecasts say the Netherlands could face heavier summer rain showers as well as stronger winds, and more regular and severe periods of drought. Dutch cities such as Amsterdam have also been warned to prepare for hotter and drier summers in the future.
Dutch government faces pressure to combat climate change
“With this report, the urgency of the rapidly unfolding climate change becomes clear,” the KNMI writes, who has combined their own research with research conducted by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Dutch Secretary of State, Steven van Weyenberg, was left disheartened by the news, saying that, if nothing is done to combat climate change, “our lives with change completely,” and raising concerns about what the KNMI’s findings could mean for the Netherlands’ water management systems.
“It’s code red for the climate,” van Weyenberg said. “One of the biggest points [for the next government] should be how we are going to prevent climate change, and how we are going to adapt society to the changes that have already happened.”