Istanbul submerged by water due to climate change

Climate change: These areas of Istanbul will be submerged by sea in 2060

Well-known neighbourhoods, streets and monuments in Istanbul will be under water due to rising sea levels due to climate change.

Climate change will dramatically change the coastline of Istanbul, submerging large areas of the city under the sea along the Bosphorus Strait by 2060, warns a recent report by a US-based nonprofit climate organization. .

“The sea water will enter about 2 kilometres in the districts located next to the Bosphorus,” says the report prepared by Climate Central, which analyses some of the scenarios that scientists foresee if the Earth’s temperature increases for the year 2050 by 1.2 degrees compared to the levels prior to the Industrial Revolution – the most optimistic scenario – or if it increases up to 3 degrees Celsius (the most pessimistic scenario).

But even if the most optimistic hypothesis is taken into account, the consequences for Istanbul do not seem very promising: “The Zeytinburnu district and the Ataköy quarter in the Bakırköy district, on the European side, will be the most affected areas in the metropolis over the next 40 years ”, says the study, which adds that the waters of the Bosphorus will reach the Osmaniye neighborhood (in the Bakırköy district), which is currently 2 kilometres away from the shore of the Strait, covering areas such as Kennedy Avenue or Yenikapı – Marmaray Station.

Other well-known areas of the city, such as the Kadıköy docks or Bağdat Avenue, on the Asian side of the city, will also be submerged under water by the year 2060. In the historic Golden Horn estuary “the water that covers today the shore will go in about 250 metres”, warns the report “Lake Küçükçekmece will also expand towards some parts of Esenyurt”, he adds.

What if the Earth’s temperature rises up 3 degrees?

This is the scenario that would leave the rise in sea level with the most optimistic hypothesis, although everything indicates that the most likely reality will be worse, given the current evolution of the fight against climate change. But the study also addresses another question: what will happen if the Earth’s temperature rises by 3 degrees Celsius? In that case, the predictions are even worse.

Climatologists say that in that case, monuments like the Dolmabahçe or Çırağan palaces, or places like the Vodafone Park stadium in Beşiktaş, will no longer exist. “All will be covered under water,” say the experts. The same will happen with the Golden Horn shipyards, while Lake Duru, near Istanbul Airport, will eventually join the Black Sea. In neighbourhoods like Kasımpaşa in Europe’s Beyoğlu district, the water will penetrate up to 2 kilometres inland.

Scientists argue that even if greenhouse gas emissions are significantly reduced in the short term, the effects of gases accumulated in the atmosphere will be felt for decades, even centuries.

The sea will not only submerge areas of Istanbul by the year 2060, but also in many other places in the world, generating what has been called “climate refugees“, people who will be forced to flee their homes: the report assures that according to the most optimistic scenario of climate change, nowadays 510 million people live today in areas that will be under water by the middle of the century; but that figure rises to 800 million people if we take into account the most pessimistic hypothesis, with a 3 degree increase in temperature.