A new study on climate change showed that up to 410 million people could be at risk if sea levels continue to rise. The people most affected will be those living in areas that are 2 meters below sea level.

The paper published in Nature Communications said rising global emissions could accelerate the increase in sea levels over the next few decades. The study said around 267 million people globally live on land less than 2 meters above sea level but that number could increase to 410 million as the global population grows.

A map that was made using Lidar sensors showed that 62% of those most at risk are located in the tropics. The map showed that Indonesia had the most land that was at risk of sinking below the sea.

The lead author of the study and a water resources expert for Deltares, Dr. Aljosja Hooijer, said the finding of their research remained to be inherently uncertain as more study needs to be conducted on tropical regions.

"There's a lot of scientists looking at long-term scenarios. But it's happening now in parts of the world, and in these parts of the world, mostly in the tropics. And not just in south-east Asia, it's also for instance in the Niger Delta and Lagos," Hooijer said.

Hooijer said, unlike most other studies that focused on sea-level rise scenarios, their study gave more attention to "elevation data." He said their elevation data model relied on more accurate data.

"In some countries like the Netherlands, or parts of the UK, and much of the U.S., they have excellent data for these coastal zones, because they fly Lidar every four years. It costs tens of millions of euros just to cover the Netherlands. Obviously in much of the world, people don't have that kind of funding," Hooijer said.

The new study correlates to previous research on climate change, which predicted that continued carbon emissions could cause severe weather changes. The rise in sea levels is expected to bring in more frequent and severe storms, which increase flood risks in coastal areas.

A study published in Climate and Atmospheric Science estimated that sea levels in coastal cities could rise by as much as 5 meters by 2300. Millions of homes could be plunged underwater as a result.

"These numbers are another wake-up call about the immense number of people at risk in low-lying areas, particularly in vulnerable countries in the global South, where people are often experiencing these risks as part of a toxic mix with other risk factors, currently also including Covid-19," the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said.