Ellie Chivers discusses NASA's alarming research on rising sea-levels, showing which parts of the UK will be underwater by 2050.
Photo by Eilis Garvey
Unsettling images have been released by climate change organisation Climate Central, showcasing the mass devastation predicted to hit the UK by 2050.
Leading scientists at the organisation have put together these digital maps in order to demonstrate the impact rising sea levels will have across the UK, shading in red the areas that will be most affected.
The east and north east of England appear to be in the most danger, however it was recently reported on Wales Online that areas such as Cardiff and Newport are also very much at risk.
Why is This Happening Now?
These images display how much of the UK will be submerged in water come 2050 due to rising sea levels – all according to Climate Central. Rising sea levels is not a new threat; in fact, they have been rising for over 3000 years, at a rate that has accelerated because of global warming.
NASA has reported that there is a 95% chance that the current global warming crisis can be attributed to human activity, and disasters in the natural world are advancing at a frightening rate because of it. The greenhouse gases we emit are polluting the atmosphere, thus warming the planet drastically, melting ice sheets and glaciers and increasing the volume of our oceans. Naturally, it will spill onto land with catastrophic consequences if no action is taken soon.
Global warming’s alarming speed has been evident in the latest annual State of the UK Climate review, which found that 2019’s average temperature was 1.1 degrees Celsius above 1961-1990 levels, a change which sounds small but has had catastrophic environmental repercussions. Sea levels are forecast to increase by between two and seven feet by the end of the century.
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How Could I be Affected?
Areas on the map coloured in red are predicted to be the most in trouble, which include areas from Cambridge all the way up to Hull, as well as London, Liverpool, Southport and Blackpool. Scotland and Northern Ireland appear to be the least affected. An interactive map devised by Climate Central allows viewers to search for their area to see how it could be affected by the rising sea levels.
However, these predictions have been made on a number of conditions, such as: only moderate cuts to greenhouse gas emissions will be made; no further coastal defences will be erected; ‘moderate’ luck with weather; and the average impact climate change is believed to have on our sea levels. It implies there is still time to try and avoid losing more of our land and homes.
What Needs to be Done?
As National Geographic writer Christina Nunez said, “Addressing climate change will require many solutions – there’s no magic bullet.” Many of these solutions require big firms and corporations changing their approaches regarding energy efficiency and sustainable production.
There are things that we can do as individuals to help reduce global warming’s impact, however. Utilising green energy within our homes, limiting our water waste, reducing the amount of meat in our diets and cutting our carbon footprint – all good ways of regulating our effect on our planet. There is always something we can do, and never has it felt quite so important that we push to be better.
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