Beijing Sinks Fastest! Nearly Half of China’s Major Cities Are Subsiding

Recently, the topic of “Nearly half of China’s major cities are sinking” has surged on Chinese social media, prompted by a paper titled “A national-scale assessment of land subsidence in China’s major cities” published on April 18 in the scientific journal Science. The paper, authored by a research team led by Ao Zurui, an associate researcher at South China Normal University, utilized satellite observation technology to measure the elevation changes of the land surface in 82 major cities, which account for three-quarters of China’s urban population, from 2015 to 2022. The results indicate that 45% of these cities are subsiding at a rate faster than 3 millimeters per year, and 16% are subsiding at a rate faster than 10 millimeters per year, posing risks to 270 million people. This phenomenon is not confined to eastern coastal cities but also affects some cities in the north, west, and southwest.
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