The latest science shows how the pace of sea level rise is speeding up, fuelling fears that not only millions of homes will be under threat, but that vulnerable installations like docks and power plants will be overwhelmed by the waves. New research using satellite data over a 30-year period shows that around the year 2000 sea level rise was 2mm a year, by 2010 it was 3mm and now it is at 4mm, with the pace of change still increasing. The calculations were made by a research student, Tadea Veng, at the Technical University of Denmark, which has a special interest in Greenland, where the icecap is melting fast. That, combined with accelerating melting in Antarctica and further warming of the oceans, is raising sea levels across the globe. Alarm about sea level rise elsewhere has been increasing outside the scientific community, partly because many nuclear power plants are on coasts. Even those that are nearing the end of their working lives will be radio-active for another century, and many have highly dangerous spent fuel on site in storage ponds with no disposal route organised. Perhaps most alarmed are British residents, whose government is currently planning a number of new seaside nuclear stations in low-lying coastal areas. Some will be under water this century according to the EEA, particularly one planned for Sizewell in eastern England. A report by campaigners who oppose building nuclear power stations on Britain’s vulnerable coast expresses extreme alarm, saying both nuclear regulators and the giant French energy company EDF are too complacent about the problem. The report says: “Polar ice caps appear to be melting faster than expected, and what is particularly worrying is that the rate of melting seems to be increasing. Some researchers say sea levels could rise by as much as six metres or more by 2100, even if the 2°C Paris target is met. “But it’s not just the height of the rise in sea level that is important for the protection of nuclear facilities, it’s also the likely increase in storm surges. An increase in sea level of 50cm would mean the storm that used to come every thousand years will now come every 100 years. If you increase that to a metre, then that millennial storm is likely to come once a decade. “Bearing in mind that there will probably be nuclear waste on the Hinkley Point C site [home to the new twin reactors being built by EDF in the West of England] until at least 2150, the question neither the Office of Nuclear Regulation nor EDF seem to be asking is whether further flood protection measures can be put in place fast enough to deal with unexpected and unpredicted storm surges.”
Climate News Network 14th Feb 2020 read more »
Coastal communities face “serious questions” about their long-term safety from rising seas, a senior Environment Agency official has warned. People have become used to a ‘myth of protection’, according to John Curtin, head of floods and coastal management. “We are in a cycle of thinking we can protect everywhere always”, he told BBC News. His warning follows research suggesting polar melting is accelerating and raising the height of the oceans. And a major UN study last year said extremes of coastal flooding are set to become far more frequent.
BBC 14th Feb 2020 read more »