Rising ocean levels are flooding low lying land, eroding beaches, changing wetlands to open water, increasing coastal flooding, and increasing the salinity of estuaries and freshwater aquifers. Without slowing down global warming many cities will be impacted by the rising sea levels.
Do you remember when Katrina hit Louisiana? The storm surge caused widespread flooding and devastation. Granted, this was a hurricane, but the rising water levels reeked havoc.
Some proponets of global warming report that because of increased temperatures and melting polar ice caps, a similar scenario is bound to affect coastal cities in the years to come. Estimates vary, but almost all paint a picture of gloom. Rising sea levels will submerge land and make coastal area uninhabitable. The socioeconomic effects of such disasters will have untoward consequences for years into the future.
The most obvious way that rising sea levels can impact people's lives is by making it so that the land on which they now live would be under water. Many large cities around the world are built very near to sea level. If the sea level rose by a significant amount, many cities would be under water.
This may not be a huge deal since people could just move their cities, but for some small islands, it would mean that they would no longer exist. For example, many islands in Micronesia, where I grew up, are atolls. If sea level rose even 5 feet, those islands would no longer exist.
The rapid increase in greenhouse gases and carbon emissions result in global warming which in turn results in the melting of the polar ice caps. Once the polar ice caps begin to melt it results in the rise of ocean levels all over the planet earth. The swelling oceans would instantaneously flood all the low lying islands and atolls. The people living on these islands will have to move to other areas which would already be crowded thus putting additional pressure on these already congested lands.