Climate change 'to drown Britain'

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The Independent Online

Sea-level rise caused by climate change could turn Britain into a string of islands, a study published today suggests.

Sea-level rise caused by climate change could turn Britain into a string of islands, a study published today suggests.

Rises could drown the centre of London and leave many low-lying cities and coastal towns waterlogged, including Edinburgh, Newcastle upon Tyne, Scunthorpe, Bristol, Plymouth, Norwich, Peterborough and Bournemouth, according to the Benfield Hazard Research Centre at University College London.

Global sea levels are expected to rise with the temperatures, from the melting of ice sheets at present on land, and the expansion of sea water as it warms.

Reseachers matched rising sea-level scenarios against ultra-accurate data on the UK's topography from the US space shuttle. The study, which was carried out for the cable and satellite channel UKTV History to celebrate its forthcoming series The British Isles - A Natural History, was led by Benfield's director, Professor Bill McGuire.

"The west Antarctic ice sheet is the most worrying," Professor McGuire said. "If this melts, with the continued thermal expansion of seawater, London and many other coastal cities could disappear beneath the waves within 200 years."

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