We’ll never be able to say we weren’t warned about the risks of sea-level rise and storm surges, as the paper below shows the huge scale of impacts. Climate change is happening now and whilst this report is couched in a 30 year time scale for many around the UK this an issue now. The Isle of Sheppey is just the latest example of the very real policy v public debate on this issue. Bob Earll

Human-caused sea level rise, storm surges and high tides will put trillions of dollars of assets at risk around the world by the end of the century. The combined impacts of human-caused sea level rise, storm surges and high tides could expose an extra 23 million people to coastal flooding within the next 30 years, even with relatively ambitious cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, a new global study has found. In a worst-case scenario where emissions continue to rise and no efforts are made to adapt to the rising sea levels, coastal assets worth US$14.2tn – about 20% of global GDP – could be at risk by the end of the century. Rising sea levels caused by global heating that expands the oceans and melts land-based ice could mean that one-in-100-year floods occurring now would become one-in-10-year floods by the end of the century. As much as 4% of the world’s population could be affected by flooding.

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, identified “hotspot” regions at risk of extensive flooding.  South-eastern China, Australia’s north, Bangladesh, West Bengal and Gujarat in India were especially at risk. In the United States, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland were considered to be most exposed, as were the UK, northern France and northern Germany.’ 

Projections of global-scale extreme sea levels and resulting episodic coastal flooding over the 21st Century

Ebru Kirezci, Ian R. Young, Roshanka Ranasinghe, Sanne Muis, Robert J. Nicholls, Daniel Lincke & Jochen Hinkel

Abstract ‘Global models of tide, storm surge, and wave setup are used to obtain projections of episodic coastal flooding over the coming century. The models are extensively validated against tide gauge data and the impact of uncertainties and assumptions on projections estimated in detail. Global “hotspots” where there is projected to be a significant change in episodic flooding by the end of the century are identified and found to be mostly concentrated in north western Europe and Asia. Results show that for the case of, no coastal protection or adaptation, and a mean RCP8.5 scenario, there will be an increase of 48% of the world’s land area, 52% of the global population and 46% of global assets at risk of flooding by 2100. A total of 68% of the global coastal area flooded will be caused by tide and storm events with 32% due to projected regional sea level rise.’

Click here to read the paper

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