Rising sea levels are increasing the risk of flooding along the south coast of England

Oct 09, 2009
This image shows flooding at Cowes on the Isle of Wight, UK. Credit: Centre for Coastal Processes, Engineering and Management

A new study by researchers at the University of Southampton has found that sea levels have been rising across the south coast of England over the past century, substantially increasing the risk of flooding during storms.

The team has conducted a major data collection exercise, bringing together computer and paper-based records from across the south of , from the Scilly Isles to Sheerness, to form a single data set of south coast sea levels across the years.

Their work has added collectively about 150 years worth of historic data to the existing record of English Channel change and extended the data along the south . Their findings are published in the latest edition of the journal Continental Shelf Research.

The data shows that both average sea levels and extreme sea levels have been rising at a similar rate through the 20th Century. The rate of rise is in the range 1.2 to 2.2 mm per year, with 1.3 mm per year recorded at Southampton.

This image shows flooding at Gurnard on the Isle of Wight, UK. Credit: Centre for Coastal Processes, Engineering and Management

Coastal engineering expert Professor Robert Nicholls, of the University's School of Civil Engineering and the Environment, who conducted the study, comments: "While these changes seem small, over a century they accumulate and substantially increase the risk of flooding during storms, unless there have been corresponding upgrades to flood defences. A water level that had an average likelihood of occurring once every 100 years in 1900 now has an average likelihood of occurring on average every 10 to 25 years, depending on the site considered. As sea levels continue to rise and probably accelerate, this increase in the likelihood of flooding will continue."

The most significant extension to the records is that of sea level changes at Southampton where the record now begins in 1935.

Paper-based records at St Mary's on the Isles of Scilly, Weymouth, Southampton and Newhaven have been used to greatly extend existing computer-based records, while the records at Devonport and Portsmouth have both been extended and corrected for pervious errors of interpretation.

This new data is feeding into ongoing efforts to increase the understanding and management of flooding.

Source: University of Southampton

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Avitar
5 / 5 (1) Oct 09, 2009
Average Sea Level Rise has averaged a little les than eightten inches per century over the last twenty thousand years. The little ice age that began in 1306 ened some time in the 1850's (perhaps!) Is the rise trending up toward the long term average or staying at a new lower average?
mikiwud
1 / 5 (1) Oct 10, 2009
With the weight of ice age glaciers gone from the north of the UK the land is rebounding. It is going up in the north and DOWN in the south.
As sea levels continue to rise and probably accelerate, this increase in the likelihood of flooding will continue."

The latest measurements show a slowing in sea level rise. Also, on a centenial basis it has been steady over the last couple of thousand years.
The British Government is running a full series of propaganda programs on TV at prime time because "not enough of the people (sheeple?) believe AGW will effect them". Is this part of it?
Snowhare
1 / 5 (1) Oct 10, 2009
The latest measurements show a slowing in sea level rise.


You are talking measurements over barely more than a year. Not enough to call a trend.

Also, on a centenial basis it has been steady over the last couple of thousand years.


Not true.

Sea level rose about 0.4 meters from -1000 CE through 1100 CE (for an average rate of about 0.2 mm/year), held roughly stable from 1100 CE through about 1850 CE and has risen 0.2 meters since 1850 CE (for an average rate of around 1.3 mm/year). A rate of increase easily 6 times faster than seen any other time in the last 2000 years.

For the last 20 years the average rate of rise has been even higher: 3 mm/year. Or more than twice as fast as the average from 1850 CE through the present.

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