Interactive map shows UK seaside spots at risk from rising sea levels

Will YOUR city survive the next 30 years? Interactive map predicts the British seaside spots likely to be wiped out by rising sea levels (and even London isn’t safe!)

  • Map shows how much land could go below the tideline due to Antarctic ice loss
  • Liverpool, Hull, Blackpool and London residents would lose their homes by 2050
  • Sea levels are already rising due to human activities that emit greenhouse gases

An interactive map shows the British seaside spots likely to be wiped out by 2050 because of rising sea levels caused by global warming.

The map, created by US climate news website Climate Central, shows people in Liverpool, Hull, Blackpool and along the Norfolk coast would lose their homes by 2050.  

Other areas that could be permanently underwater include South Wales, Gloucester, Weston-super-Mare, Portsmouth and huge swathes of East Anglia.

Almost all of central London either side of the Thames will also be underwater, according to the model, sending global businesses and government buildings – including Number 10 Downing Street – to a watery grave. 

Sea levels are already rising now because of human activities that emit greenhouse gases – and recent flooding events in the UK are likely a glimpse of what will happen over the next century if global warming is not curbed, experts say. 

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Projections for 2050: According to Climate Central, people in Liverpool, Hull, Blackpool and along the Norfolk coast would lose their homes

Climate Central’s map is based on a wealth of peer-reviewed research into melting ice sheets from scientific journals, according to the firm.

Previous studies have provided a constant reminder of the danger of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities and the resulting rise in global temperatures, which in turn melt ice sheets and cause a rise in sea levels.

These human activities include burning fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and oil, which release carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas, as well as deforestation. 

Scientists have previously predicted that sea levels will rise to such an extent within this century that entire cities will be submerged due to greenhouse gas emissions, forcing millions of people to evacuate their homes.  

According to Dr Benjamin Strauss, chief executive of Climate Central, the map improves upon previous data that tended to ‘overestimate land heights along the coast’. 

One big takeaway from the map is that anywhere with an estuary nearby is in serious risk of flooding – including Humber, Mersey Severn and Thames.

Sea levels are already rising now due to human activities that emit greenhouse gases. Here, an aerial drone photo of the town of Allerton Bywater near Castleford in Leeds, West Yorkshire shows the flooded fields from the River Aire

Along the Thames estuary, much of Essex will be underwater in the east, the map predicts, as will land either side of the Thames running all the way up to Hampton Court. 

In essence, if the map is anything to go by, in just a single generation’s time, UK residents will be fleeing the coast towards the centre of the country.    

Climate Central says its map is based on is the potential results of melting ice sheets in the Antarctic.

It is not based on physical storm and flood simulations and does not take into account erosion, future changes in the frequency or intensity of storms, inland flooding or contributions from rainfall or rivers.  

Therefore, the results shown on the map could come even sooner if these natural disasters play a part too. 

Last year, scientists reported that sea levels around the world would rise by more than 4 feet by the end of the century if temperatures rise by another 7°F. 

Ice sheets will shed trillions of tonnes in mass if temperatures rise by this amount, forcing some locations underwater. 

‘Currently, hundreds of millions of people live in regions susceptible to coastal flooding, and the likelihood of even worse flooding will significantly increase with severe sea level rise,’ said study author Professor Martin Siegert at Imperial College London. 

According to NASA, Antarctica shed approximately 125 gigatons of ice per year between 2002 and 2016, causing global sea level to rise by 0.35 millimetres per year.  

GLACIERS AND ICE SHEETS MELTING WOULD HAVE A ‘DRAMATIC IMPACT’ ON GLOBAL SEA LEVELS

Global sea levels could rise as much as 10ft (3 metres) if the Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica collapses. 

Sea level rises threaten cities from Shanghai to London, to low-lying swathes of Florida or Bangladesh, and to entire nations such as the Maldives. 

In the UK, for instance, a rise of 6.7ft (2 metres) or more may cause areas such as Hull, Peterborough, Portsmouth and parts of east London and the Thames Estuary at risk of becoming submerged.

The collapse of the glacier, which could begin with decades, could also submerge major cities such as New York and Sydney.

Parts of New Orleans, Houston and Miami in the south on the US would also be particularly hard hit.

A 2014 study looked by the union of concerned scientists looked at 52 sea level indicators in communities across the US.

It found tidal flooding will dramatically increase in many East and Gulf Coast locations, based on a conservative estimate of predicted sea level increases based on current data.

The results showed that most of these communities will experience a steep increase in the number and severity of tidal flooding events over the coming decades.

By 2030, more than half of the 52 communities studied are projected to experience, on average, 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 in tidal flooding events.

The mid-Atlantic coast is expected to see some of the greatest increases in flood frequency. Places such as Annapolis, Maryland and Washington, DC can expect more than 150 tidal floods a year, and several locations in New Jersey could see 80 tidal floods or more.

In the UK, a two metre (6.5 ft) rise by 2040 would see large parts of Kent almost completely submerged, according to the results of a paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science in November 2016.

Areas on the south coast like Portsmouth, as well as Cambridge and Peterborough would also be heavily affected.

Cities and towns around the Humber estuary, such as Hull, Scunthorpe and Grimsby would also experience intense flooding. 

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