UK weather warning: Sea could submerge swathes of British coast

The UK has in recent weeks experienced extremely polarised weather fronts. From July through much of August came an intense heatwave in which temperatures consistently soared past 30C. London, for example, was particularly badly hit as the city saw the longest stretch of high temperatures in almost six decades.

The Met Office said temperatures exceeded 34C in the city for six days in a row – the first time that has happened since at least 1961.

Shortly after Storm Francis battered the country with gusts exceeding 80mph sparking widespread flooding alongside road and rail travel disruption.

The extremity of the weather will, experts have warned, become more prevalent and intense in the future as climate change grips the world.

Especially imminent are rising sea levels and coastal submersion, of which the UK is the most at risk in Europe.

Dr Bonnie Warring, senior Lecturer at the Grantham Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, told that many coastal townships will now inevitably succumb to rising sea levels, some as soon as the end of the century.

She explained: “In the near future we still have the capacity to transition to a zero carbon economy and thereby limit the degree of change that we see over the coming century.

“If we achieve that goal, we will still see changes in climate because of the carbon that we’ve added to the atmosphere already.

“So we can expect by the end of this century we’ll have some level of sea level rise.

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“We’ll see an increase in heavy rainfall, and we’re going to see more frequent heat waves. That’s even if we steered our economy to zero carbon tomorrow.”

Should the UK and other countries around the world follow the same path as is currently trending around the world in terms of carbon output, Dr Warring said the scale of rising sea levels among other things will increase in severity tenfold.

She warned: “We could see up to a metre of sea level rise in the UK which would put large parts of the low lying coast underwater.

“We see a much bigger increase in heavy rainfall events.


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“And by 2100 we would have a 90 percent chance each year of severe heatwaves.”

An assessment by the organisation Climate Change Post found that 10 to 15 percent of the UK’s coastline consists of 10km long stretches that are below five metres elevation and that 3009km is subject to erosion.

Further, their study also found that 69 percent of GDP is located within 50km of the coast.

And, around 78 percent of the country’s population live within the zone at risk.

There are currently thought to be over 400,000 people exposed to sea level rise in the UK.

The United Nations (UN) published a paper that revealed many major cities around the world, including New York and Shanghai could see regular flooding as glaciers and ice sheets from the Himalayas to Antarctica rapidly melt.

Ko Barrett, vice chair of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) revealed the new findings.

Ms Barrett said: “This report is unique because for the first time ever, the IPCC has produced an in-depth report examining the furthest corners of the Earth – from the highest mountains in remote polar regions to the deepest oceans.

“We’ve found that even and especially in these places, human-caused climate change is evident.”

When it comes to the UK, East Anglia would be most severely affected, because the area is low-lying and near the coast.

According to the FireTree Flood app, even with a one-metre rise, areas of Norfolk would be underwater.

Wales would also be hit hard, and reports show much of Cardiff could be underwater if there was a 4C rise in temperatures.

According to the IPCC report, parts of London could be submerged if the sea levels rise by more than two metres.

Coastal and low-lying areas will be the most several affected, meaning large areas of the North East could also disappear if ice caps melt.

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