One of the most densely populated nations on the planet, Bangladesh could find a good chuck of its current landmass underwater by the year 2050.
That's just one of the more disturbing findings in writer Don Belt's inside look at Bangladesh and its increasing vulnerability to coastal flooding. Of course, Belt's assertions aren't just limited to Bangladesh, as other coastal cities like Miami and New York face similar risks, based on converging projections of population growth and a rise in sea level as a result of climate change.
Read an excerpt from the article below:
More than a third of the world's people live within 62 miles of a shoreline. Over the coming decades, as sea levels rise, climate change experts predict that many of the world's largest cities, including Miami and New York, will be increasingly vulnerable to coastal flooding. A recent study of 136 port cities found that those with the largest threatened populations will be in developing countries, especially those in Asia. Worldwide, the two cities that will have the greatest proportional increase in people exposed to climate extremes by 2070 are both in Bangladesh: Dhaka and Chittagong, with Khulna close behind. Though some parts of the delta region may keep pace with rising sea levels, thanks to river sediment that builds up coastal land, other areas will likely be submerged. But Bangladeshis don't have to wait decades for a preview of a future transformed by rising seas.
Read Belt's full article in the May 2011 issue of National Geographic here.
View Jonas Bendiksen's amazing full gallery here.
View a selection of the photos below. Photos and captions are courtesy of National Geographic: