Hundreds of homes and businesses across the South West could be at risk of sinking from 2030 onwards, due to the rising sea levels and land erosion across UK coastlines, several reports have predicted.
An interactive study has forecast the likely impact of rising sea levels and estimated which areas of the world could be below the current water level by 2050.
The impacts of climate change has caused sea levels to rise, which has increased the risk of flooding and severe coastal erosion around the shores of the UK, including the West of England.
Scientists have long worked to predict how quickly global warming could raise the level of the world’s oceans against the ever-changing nature of climate change. Therefore, scientific institutions rely on structured expert judgements.
A research article led by Professor Jonathan L Bamber at the School of Geographical Sciences at the University of Bristol, said: “Despite considerable advances in process understanding and observational record of ice sheet contributions to global mean sea-level rise, severe limitations remain in the predictive capability of ice sheet models.”
However, according to the UK’s Environmental Agency National Coastal Erosion Risk Map, approximately 1,800 kilometres (km) of open coast is eroding due to global warming and will cause risk to human life and the environment.
In such circumstances, residents would be forced to flee their homes and move further inland while the loss of businesses could be a devastating hit to the local economy.
Rapid sea level rise will be just one of the several catastrophic consequences of global warming, if climate change is not properly tackled within the timescale of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Among the scientific bodies in the UK researching the effects of global warming on rising sea levels, Climate Central, an independent, nonprofit organisation of scientists, previously said the seas could rise by as much as 10.8 metres if temperatures went up 4C from pre-industrial levels.
Such bleak predictions have sparked huge protests from environmental groups who have urged governments across the world to take immediate action.
One such demonstration was led by Greta Thunberg’s Extinction Rebellion on June 11 in St Ives, Cornwall, asking the G7 Summit leaders for immediate climate action. The group marched through St Ives town centre and were joined by a grandmother, Penny Kent, from Stroud, who marched because she was worried about the future of her grandchildren.
Climate Central’s report called “Flooded Future: Global vulnerability to sea level rise worse than previously thought” was released last year. Globally organisation has predicted that by 2100, areas now home to 200 million people could find themselves submerged by the high tide line.
As part of their study using digital elevation, they designed an interactive map to show areas which are most at threat.
Using the tool, here’s what Bristol and other nearby areas could look like from just nine year’s time.
Rising water levels in the River Avon would also lead to parts of the A4 Portway being submerged, along with all the homes around it.
Towns and villages further inland in Somerset could also be affected, with rising water levels stretching as far as Glastonbury.
Large amounts of the city, with the areas closest to the River Severn most at risk, will be underwater in 30 years.
Kingsholm Stadium is one of the locations at risk, with the map showing it to be underwater while Gloucester Cathedral would also be at risk.