Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, often experiences heavy rainfall, but an exceptionally strong downpour hit the city in 2019. Severe floods like this are expected to become more frequent because of sea level rise, and the city must be prepared. 

Earth.Org has mapped what strong floods could look like in Taipei by 2100. 

Severe floods are becoming noticeably more common in Taipei, where temples safely located 300 years ago are now submerged at least once a year. This increasingly bothersome problem was not taken into account in the urban planning of Taipei, leaving it exposed to heavy infrastructure damage and hampered daily activity. 

An often-encountered problem in Asia is over-extraction of groundwater resources. Taipei is no exception, and the ground upon which it is built is subsiding. Moreover, the island’s sub-tropical location will experience a much faster sea level rise than other locations on the globe. Despite this, Taiwan’s greenhouse gas emissions are still on the rise.

A long history of flooding and efficient drainage systems seems to have lulled the officials into a state of comfort, as they have yet to announce a protection plan. Some experts claim the best solution is to relocate the capital, but this would take two to three decades. If they are to carry out such a strategy, the implementation should start now. 

If Taipei is to avoid massive population displacement, infrastructure damage, and freshwater contamination, it needs to start moving. Earth.Org has modelled what extreme flooding could look like by 2100 to illustrate the need for action. 

sea level rise by 2100 taipei

Sea level rise projections by 2100 for two scenarios with the amount of rise in meters indicated (mild = 1m; extreme = 4m). Percentage and total population displacement indicated bottom right.


Global mean sea level is projected to rise by 2m at the end of this century. However, in order to determine local sea level rise (SLR), one has to take into account local coastal flood levels which could be 2.8m above Mean Higher-High Water (MHHW) at extreme forecasts. These local levels bring variability to the projected SLR from 1m to 6.5m (eg. Rio vs Kolkata).

The SLR scenarios used in this study are based on the forecasts from Climate Central – Coastal Risk Screening Tool  with the following parameters:

Sea level Projection Source:

From two highly cited journals by Kopp et al., estimating SLR mainly due to ocean thermal expansion and ice melt. The mid-range scenario projected 0.5-1.2m of SLR based on different representative concentration pathways (RCP) defined by the IPCC. While the pessimistic scenario added more mechanisms of ice-sheet melting, estimating SLR at 1m-2.5m in 2100, with a projection of 10m SLR at 2300.

Coastal Flooding

More frequent coastal flooding is a direct impact of sea-level rise. Based on the Global tides and surge reanalysis by Muis et al., (2016), it is estimated that the extreme coastal water level could be from 0.2 – 2.8m over the mean level. While in extreme cases like China and the Netherlands it could experience 5-10m of extreme sea levels. Here, the coastal local flood level is added on top of the projected SLR.

Pollution Scenario:

Allows choosing the RCP, the greenhouse gas concentration trajectory defined by the IPCC.  The mild level is based on RCP4.5, of 2°C temperature rise; while the Extreme level is based on RCP 8.5, of 4°C temperature rise.


Applies to the baseline SLR, defined in the “Sea level projection” section, upon which we add flooding. “Mild” refers to the mid-range scenario of 0.5-1.2m, and “extreme” to the pessimistic scenario of 1-2.5m. We used the high-end value of each scenario (mild = 1m; extreme = 2.5m).

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