Doomsday scenario wipes out whole countries as waters rise 216 feet

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Doomsday scenario wipes out whole countries as waters rise 216 feet

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 16, 2013

The worst-case scenario: if all the ice melted, sea levels would rise to cover large areas of eastern England and northern Europe. The pale blue line denotes the existing coastlinesThe worst-case scenario: if all the ice melted, sea levels would rise to cover large areas of eastern England and northern Europe. The pale blue line denotes the existing coastlines

Comments (1) Vast swathes of the Westcountry would be swamped by rising seas if all the Earth’s ice was to melt, new interactive maps show.

The Doomsday scenario, albeit in 5,000 years’ time, was painted by National Geographic in a series of interactive maps demonstrating the catastrophic effect of a mass ice melt.

It is estimated that the loss of some five million cubic miles of ice – 80 per cent of which is in the East Antarctica ice sheet alone – would lead to a sea level rise of about 216 feet.

The maps show the global consequences with continental coastlines being totally redrawn and entire cities engulfed.

In Europe, cities including London and Venice would be submerged, as would the whole of the Netherlands and most of Denmark. It would also cause the Mediterranean to expand and swell the Black and Caspian seas.

In the Westcountry, a swathe of the north Cornwall and Devon coast would be lost as well as parts of the south and east Devon shore. The largest ingress would be across Somerset. The Scillies – highest point, Telegraph on St Mary’s, is 160ft above current sea level – would vanish completely.

Over on the other side of the UK, water would surge miles inland on the South East and East coasts.

Scientists have estimated that it could take 5,000 years for temperatures to rise enough to melt all the ice on the planet. The largest concentrations of ice on Earth are found in Greenland and Antarctica.

A spokesman for the Met Office, based in Exeter, said warming of the Earth had seen global sea levels rise by 1.7mm per year over the last century. The rate had accelerated to 3mm per year since the early 1990s.

Latest reports to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), he said, showed waters rose 19cm between 1901 and 2010.

“Broadly speaking about half of that is due to melting ice from various sources,” he explained. “The other half is due to thermal expansion, sea water expanding as it gets warmer.

“The National Geographic maps appear to show one component of sea level rise that we could see over time.”

The spokesman said there was “no specific research” on the impact of sea level rises on the UK.

However, he said studies of Hurricane Sandy, the massive storm which caused vast damage in the United States in 2012, showed increased water levels would make the future impact of such events worse.

The National Geographic maps show parts of Asia, including China and Bangladesh would be completely flooded, with water claiming land occupied by some 760 million people based on current population levels.

The entire Atlantic seaboard in the United States would vanish, wiping out Florida and the Gulf Coast.

Australia would gain a new inland sea but would lose much of the narrow coastal strip where four out of five people now live.

National Geographic said even without the flood waters, the Earth’s rising heat “might make much of it uninhabitable.” It said: “If we burn all the Earth’s supply of coal, oil, and gas, adding some five trillion more tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere, we’ll create a very hot planet with an average temperature of perhaps 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27C) instead of the current 58 (14C).”

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