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Some Coastal Cities Are Sinking Even Faster Than Seas Are Rising

Satellite data points to a higher risk of flooding for low-lying population centers.

Streets underwater following heavy rainfall in Chittagong, Bangladesh, in 2017. 

Streets underwater following heavy rainfall in Chittagong, Bangladesh, in 2017. 

Photographer: Zakir Chowdhury/Future Publishing/Getty Images

Rising seas have long been a threat to coastal cities. New research suggests that cities—particularly in Asia—are sinking as well, compounding the risks of frequent and severe flooding.   

In Karachi, land is sinking five times as fast as the sea level is rising, according to the study published this month in Geophysical Research Letters. Manila and Chittagong, Bangladesh’s second-largest city, are sinking at 10 times the rate of the rising waters.