Coastal areas around the world are expanding in the face of projections that global warming-induced sea level rise will wipe out coastal cities.
But a recent study by the Dutch Deltares Research Institute found coastal areas had grown, on net, 13,000 square miles over the last 30 years. In total, the study found 67,000 square miles of water was converted into land, and 44,000 square miles of land was covered by water.
“We expected that the coast would start to retreat due to sea level rise, but the most surprising thing is that the coasts are growing all over the world,” Fedor Baart, the study’s lead author, told BBC News. “We’re were able to create more land than sea level rise was taking.”
Baart noted the expansion of coastlines around the world has thwarted sea level rise that scientists predict will get worse due to man-made global warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts sea levels could rise as high as 16 millimeters a year by 2100.
Baart specifically pointed to Dubai, where the coast, “had been significantly extended, with the creation of new islands to house luxury resorts,” according to BBC, and to China where the, “whole coast from the Yellow Sea all the way down to Hong Kong” had been expanded.