Huge swathes of Britain’s coastline could be inundated by 2100 amid sea-level rises fueled by climate change, a new study warns.
Researchers say parts of the south east and north west of England, south Wales and central Scotland are most at risk.
They also warned that even densely populated cities such as London, Cardiff, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh are not safe in these regions.
In these areas, flood damage is expected to increase by more than 25 percent if no action is taken to combat climate change and rising sea levels, according to the study led by the University of Bristol.
It claims annual damage caused by flooding in the UK could increase by more than a fifth over the next century unless all international commitments to cut carbon emissions are met.
Warning: Huge swathes of Britain’s coastline are at risk of being submerged by 2100 amid sea-level rises fueled by climate change, a new study warns. This graph shows the areas where the current annual cost of flood damage is expected to increase (left) over the next 80 years (right)
The study is the first to assess flood risk using the most recent Met Office climate projections, which take into account the likely impact of climate change.
It shows that the predicted increase in annual flood damage to property and businesses can be avoided if all countries meet the ambitious commitments they signed at COP26, although Britain also needs to meet its Net Zero commitments on time and in full.
WHICH PARTS OF THE ENGLISH COASTLINE ARE WORST AFFECTED BY EROSION?
Figures published in 2019, based on data collected by the Environmental Agency’s National Coastal Erosion Risk Mapping project, suggest that the following parts of England’s coastline will be most affected by erosion:
|COASTAL AREA:||LAND ERODED AFTER 20 YEARS:|
|1. Happisburgh, Norfolk||318 feet (97m)|
|2. Kessingland, Suffolk||230 feet (70 m)|
|3. Hornsea, East Riding of Yorkshire||223 feet (68m)|
|4. Withernsea, East Riding of Yorkshire||200 feet (61m)|
|5. Sunderland, Tyne & Wear||131 feet (40 m)|
|6. Filey, North Yorkshire||131 feet (40 m)|
|7. Camber, East Sussex||131 feet (40 m)|
If these things don’t happen, the study shows that the annual costs of flooding in the UK could rise by 13 to 23 per cent over the next century, depending on different levels of extreme climate projections.
The lead author of the study, Paul Bates, Professor of Hydrology, said: ‘This flooding model gives us for the first time a more accurate and detailed picture of the impact of climate change on future flood risk in the UK.
“The results are a timely warning to the country’s political leaders and business community that global commitments to significantly reduce carbon emissions must be taken very seriously and ultimately implemented to limit increased losses from flooding.”
The data has also highlighted places in the UK where flood risks will increase the fastest, even in the best-case scenario where global warming is limited to 3.24°F (1.8°C).
These include the south east and north west of England, south Wales and central Scotland.
The new model also suggests that flood risk in north east and central England, as well as eastern and northern Scotland, will change little over the next 80 years.
“While the most optimistic national-level climate scenarios show only a modest increase in flood losses, these new data show how this hides dramatic variations across the country, with some places seeing big changes and others seeing very little,” said Professor Bates.
“This is the result of changing patterns of future rainfall, river flow and sea level rise, leading to the regional differences we predict.”
The model predicted a floodwater depth of 1 in 250 years for Carlisle, with maximum water elevation levels
This chart shows how the cost of flooding to Britain has risen as global warming has increased
He added: ‘We found that floods are increasing the most in places where the risk is already high, so the best thing we can do to prepare for the impacts of climate change is to strengthen flood management in areas that are currently at risk. to walk. also direct economic and social benefits.’
The new model takes into account historical flood risk and future climate projections, while researchers used flood losses from the Association of British Insurers to shed new light on the financial toll of flooding.
The team of experts now plans to conduct analysis for other countries around the world in an effort to better understand how climate change is likely to affect global flood risk.
Co-author Dr. Oliver Wing, also from the University of Bristol, said: ‘This study, using new data and state-of-the-art modeling techniques…has provided a new level of understanding of the impact of climate change on flooding in the future. .
“The modeling provides clear evidence that flood risks need to be given a higher international priority and that current governance is not going far enough.
While most of the country’s future flood risk already exists today, it is strongly in the UK’s interest to take leadership in the global effort to reduce carbon emissions, both by leading by example and as part of global diplomatic initiatives.”
The research has been published in the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Science.
THE MELTING OF GLACIERS AND ICE SHAPES WOULD HAVE A ‘DRAMATIC IMPACT’ ON GLOBAL SEA STANDINGS
If the Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica collapses, global sea levels could rise by up to 3 metres.
Sea level rise is threatening cities from Shanghai to London, to low-lying parts of Florida or Bangladesh, and entire nations like the Maldives.
In the UK, for example, a rise of 2 meters or more could threaten to flood areas such as Hull, Peterborough, Portsmouth and parts of East London and the Thames Estuary.
The collapse of the glacier, which could take decades, could also flood major cities like New York and Sydney.
Parts of New Orleans, Houston and Miami in the southern US would also be particularly hard hit.
A 2014 study by the Union of Concerned Scientists looked at 52 sea level indicators in communities across the US.
It found that tidal flooding will increase dramatically in many East Coast and Gulf Coast locations, based on a conservative estimate of predicted sea level rise based on current data.
The results showed that most of these communities will experience a sharp increase in the number and severity of tidal flooding in the coming decades.
By 2030, more than half of the 52 communities studied are expected to experience an average of at least 24 tidal floods per year in exposed areas, assuming moderate sea level rise projections. Twenty of these communities could see a tripling or more increase in tidal flooding.
The mid-Atlantic coast is expected to see some of the largest increases in flood frequency. Places such as Annapolis, Maryland and Washington, D.C. can expect more than 150 tidal floods per year, and several locations in New Jersey can experience 80 tidal floods or more.
In the UK, a two-metre rise would almost completely inundate large parts of Kent by 2040, according to the results of a paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science in November 2016.
Areas on the south coast such as Portsmouth, as well as Cambridge and Peterborough would also be badly affected.
Towns and villages around the Humber Estuary, such as Hull, Scunthorpe and Grimsby, would also experience severe flooding.