Northwest Sea Level Changes

We have some amazing beaches on our doorstep in the northwest. From West Kirby on the Wirral, Crosby , Formby, Ainsdale to St Annes they really are inspirational. Over the centuries our coast has always been in a state of flux. Nature has its effect as does man. Typically, barring less frequent storms, man’s impact has had a quicker impact. Look at the building of Seaforth container port for example compared to the sea encroaching Dogger Bank. Sadly for our children and grandchildren, 97% if the workd’s climate scientists say manmade ot anthropogenic sea level rise will deteriorate if the world does not tackle global warming. Following COP27 in Sharma el Sheikh in Egypt, here’s a little coastline simulation gadget you can try out. Play with the various settings and you can see what impact global warming can have on our Northwest Sea Level Changes or the country too.

Are Sea Levels Rising Now?

Stefan Rahmstof is the renowned professor of physics of the oceans at Germany’s Potsdam university. He explains that climate warming results in sea level rises for two key reasons. First, warmier seawater expands. As the oceans can be thousands of metres deep, even asmall expansion in percentage terms, can result in metres of sea level rise. His second point is that glaciers on land and sea are receding. The meltwater adds more to the seas and oceans. Did you know that there is sufficient ice on our planet to raise sea levels by a whopping 65 metres? Did you also know at the end of the last ice age sea levels rose by 120 metres from a 5 degree warming?

Fortunately sea level rise since the nineteenth century has been a modest 20 centimetres globally. The initial slower rise is partly down to how long it takes the lower levels of deeper oceans to warm. However the melting of many glaciers is now prertty much irreversible even if the world kept to a temperature increase of 1.5 degrees. As sea cglaciers melt the darker ocean absorbs sunligh more quickly and heating rates increase. The same concept applies to where land based glaciers have melted to leave darker earth.

From satellite data monitoring going back to 1993 sea level rises are just over 40% from warming seas and the remainder from melting glaciers including Greenland, Antartic and the Himalays. The IPCC’s Sixth Report points out that we will see rises of beytween 1/2 and 1 metre by 2100 and as much as 5m by 2150. nThe impacts will not be uniform across the world. As landmasses lose thheir glaciers, they will rise due to the reduced wieght of ice. Unforunately this will have a greater impact on lower lying areas such as Venice, New Orleans, Pacific Islands, Bangladesh and closer to home East Anglia and the even London.

Even sea levels can vary by region due to reduced gravitational piull from shrinking land masses, ocean currents and winds.

Other Affects of Rising Sea Levels

Of course our rivers flow into the sea. Where they do river levels will see an equivalent rise to the coast wher they flow into. The efect can even be felt much further upstream paritcularly with increased rainfall. York’s River Ouse has always been vulnerable to flooding at certain times of year as far back as I can remeber to the early 80s. Look at the pictures above. They are both the same place. In the first the quay and the ground floor of the buildings are all under water. In fact the pub has a water depthj guage inside the bar!

Take a look in the map simulation and you will see just how much a metre change in sea level will affect much of Yorkshire and the lower lying Lincolnshire. Where coastal communities also rely on fresh water aqiofers for drinking water, encroaching sea levels may also have a detrimental affect of contamination through salinisation.

Sea Level Changes Maps

Sea Level Changes Impact

So, ready to take a look? Click on the big green button to see the nowrth west coastline. Once there you can use Central Climate’s coastline App to adjust the sea level rise to see what affect it would have pn pur own coastline.

Take a look at a variety of additional mapping overlays and do your own investigations.

Northwest Sea Level Changes – Useful Links

IPCC – The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. A factual source of papers compiled by worldwide climatology experts. The latest Summary paper is due in early 2023. The site has numerous interesting articles and graphs to explain what is really happening across the world. If it attracts your interest teh IPCC site also offers a wealth of detail too.

The Climate Book – A superlative collectopn of short scientifica papers on just about all aspects of Climate Cahnge. Also available as an Audio Book.

Floodmap Pro – Visual view of rising waters. At 30m Wigan would be beachfront property.

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