China’s coastal regions have recorded an annual sea level increase of 3.2 millimeters per year since 1980, a greater increase than the global average.
In its annual report published on Wednesday, the country’s State Oceanic Administration said that sea temperatures rose by an average of 32.4 degrees Fahrenheit per decade between 1980 and 2016.
The administration also stated that the average sea level along China’s coast was 33 millimeters higher than it was in 2015, and 82 millimeters higher than the average level from 1993 to 2011, Shanghaiist reported.
The rise of sea levels has been attributed to climate change, which could lead to coastal erosion and frequent typhoons.
“Against the background of global climate change, China’s coastal air and sea temperatures have soared, coastal air pressure has fallen and sea levels have also soared,” the administration said, according to Reuters.
A 2015 study published by a non-profit group that focuses on climate science, Climate Central, revealed that Shanghai could be submerged if the global average temperature increases by 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit.
The administration suggested flood protection measures needed to be implemented in coastal regions that are vulnerable by improving drainage systems and building dikes and dams, as well as cutting underground water extraction in order to reduce the risk of subsidence.
It added at a press conference on Wednesday that natural disasters and water-related hazards left 60 people dead and direct economic losses of 5 billion yuan ($725.95 million) in 2016, warning that water pollution continued to be severe.
In 2016, the Paris Agreement on climate change, which promised to limit the rise in the average global temperature to under 2 degrees Celsius (35.6 degrees Fahrenheit), was signed by China as well as 191 other countries and the European Union.
However, Liu Zhonghui, associate professor in earth sciences at the University of Hong Kong, had his doubts about the deal.
“Past global efforts to cut greenhouse emissions have not been too successful,” Liu told the South China Morning Post. “The rising trend in sea levels, the effect of global warming, will continue in the foreseeable future.”