Bali, renowned for its stunning beaches, lush landscapes, and vibrant culture, faces an impending threat from rising sea levels.
Bali is located in Indonesia and it is surrounded by the Indian Ocean and the Bali Sea, and is particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts due to melting ice sheets and the thermal expansion of seawater.
As sea levels rise due to increasing in global temperatures, low-lying areas such as Bali could go underwater.
Experts predict Bali could experience severe flooding, erosion, and coastal inundation in the coming decades.
A study released by UNDP recently revealed that Bali’s southern shore is particularly vulnerable to sea level rise, with a projected rise of up to 1.2 meters by 2100.
This puts popular tourist spots like Kuta and Seminyak at risk as well as residential areas and important infrastructure.
Negative Consequences of Sea Level Rise in Bali
As sea levels rise in Bali, the impact is not limited to the physical coastline but also across coastal ecosystems.
Saltwater intrusion into freshwater aquifers can lead to contamination, which has serious consequences for municipal and agricultural water supplies as well as natural ecosystems.
Global warming is a major contributor to this problem, and as temperatures continue to rise, sea level is expected to rise dramatically.
However, there is a substantial delay between the increase of temperature and sea level rise as Earth needs time to reach its new equilibrium.
The extent of sea level rise is primarily dependent on global warming and future carbon dioxide emissions, with glacier melt becoming an increasingly prominent factor in determining its rate.
Impact Of Climate Change In Bali
Bali, an Indonesian island with a 593 km shoreline, has experienced significant coastal erosion due to climate change and sea level rise.
The southern coast, where popular tourist destinations such as Nusa Dua, Kuta, Legian, and Sanur Beaches are located, has experienced the most severe erosion.
The erosion is attributed to sea level rise and factors such as coral mining, hotel wastewater disposal, boat activities, and chemical waste from rivers that cause coral destruction.
The destruction of coral has made the coast more vulnerable to wave and current impacts.
Moreover, the rapid development of tourist facilities in Bali’s coastal areas has converted green open spaces into built environments.
This has significantly altered the microclimate, leading to a rise in outdoor temperature and a decline in outdoor thermal comfort.
The population growth due to people migration and tourist arrivals has also contributed to the microclimate change in the coastal resorts, further stimulating the rise of outdoor temperature.
Therefore, the negative impacts of global and local climate change on Bali are evident through beach erosion and higher outdoor temperature in the coastal resorts.
Important Factors Contributing To Global Sea Level Rise
Melting Of Land Ice Into The Ocean
The most significant contributor to rising sea levels is the melting of land ice, such as glaciers and ice sheets, into the ocean.
As temperatures warm due to climate change, ice is melting at an accelerating rate, especially in places like Greenland and Antarctica. This meltwater flows into the ocean, raising sea levels around the world.
Gulf Stream Slowdown
The Gulf Stream is a strong ocean current that carries warm water from the Gulf of Mexico up along the east coast of the United States and across the Atlantic Ocean.
This current plays a crucial role in regulating global climate patterns, but the Gulf Stream is slowing down as the climate warms.
This slowdown is caused by the influx of freshwater from melting ice, which disrupts the current and could have far-reaching effects on sea level rise and climate patterns.
Some areas of the world including Bali are experiencing sinking land, which exacerbates the effects of rising sea levels.
Various factors, including natural geological processes, groundwater pumping, and oil and gas extraction can cause this sinking.
When land sinks, sea levels rise even higher, posing a significant threat to coastal communities and ecosystems.
Is Bali At Risk Of Being Hit By A Tsunami?
Due to Bali’s proximity to the subduction zone, scientists believe it will likely experience another devastating earthquake and tsunami event.
However, it can never be accurately predicted when such an event may strike.
In 2018, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Lombok, an island near Bali, wreaking extensive destruction and leaving several fatalities.
This event served as a stark reminder of the potential hazards facing Bali and its surrounding region, reinforcing the importance of being prepared for such disasters.
While it’s impossible to forecast when another major earthquake or tsunami will strike accurately, efforts can be made to enhance preparedness, raise awareness, and implement mitigation measures that minimize their effects.
Will Bali Be Under Water?
Bali, a beloved tourist spot and home to millions of people, may soon be submerged underwater.
The island has been identified as one of the fastest-sinking places on earth. Experts predict that up to one-third of its city could be submerged by 2050.
Uncontrolled groundwater extraction has been identified as the primary cause of the sinking of the city, and climate change has only compounded this effect.
Excessive groundwater pumping has reduced water tables, causing land to sink further due to global warming and melting ice caps in the Java Sea.
With such a rapidly rising rate of subsidence threatening residents’ homes and infrastructure in Bali.
The consequences of this sinking phenomenon are far-reaching and cause great concern for Bali’s residents.
Bali serves as a major tourism hub and contributes significantly to Indonesian economic activity – its submersion could devastate both regions economically.
Land loss could result in millions of people’s displacement, creating an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.
Moreover, submergence could have severe environmental repercussions such as loss of wildlife habitats or marine environments.
Does Bali Face The Risk Of Flooding?
Yes, Bali faces the potential risk of flooding, particularly in low-lying areas and areas with inadequate drainage infrastructure.
Heavy rainfall, high tides, and sea level rise due to climate change all create this increased vulnerability to flooding in Bali.
The island has experienced several devastating floods in recent years, which have caused widespread damage and disruption, such as damaging infrastructure and buildings, displacement of residents, and loss of livelihoods.