Europe is more threatened by rising sea levels than countries in the South

The rising waters of the Atlantic, which would mainly impact the countries of northern Europe, could exceed one meter in 2100.

« European nations should prepare for rising waters, and adjust their policies as new data comes to us. This is the warning given by Professor Michael Norton, the director of the environmental program of EASAC (European Academies’ Science Advisory Council), when he unveiled the result of his two years of research on rising sea levels of the North Atlantic Ocean on June 8. The main countries affected by this rising sea level are the countries with coasts on the North Sea, namely the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands (including Amsterdam), Germany and Denmark.

The rising waters were expected to affect mainly South East Asian countries – indeed, they have already started. Scientists, however, discovered that the melting ice in Antarctica would affect the direction of this rise. ” The mass loss in Antarctica is enough to affect the gravitational force it applies to the oceans, which will be pushed back Explains Professor Norton. ” This means that as Antarctica melts, the oceans are rising north and the water is rising even faster in Europe. “ If the climb reaches one meter in 2100, as expected, the annual cost of coastal damage would increase from 1 to almost 814 billion euros per year, and would affect more than three million people.

Inequalities in the face of rising waters

Two factors are contributing to the rising waters. The first is thermal expansion, a phenomenon caused by global warming and which is responsible for a third of it: while our atmosphere accumulates more and more heat due to greenhouse gases, over 90% of this heat is absorbed by the oceans. In doing so, the temperature of the oceans rises and the water swells. Melting ice, led by Antarctica and Greenland, is responsible for half of the 3.6 mm annual rise in global waters.

Even if the water has globally risen by twenty centimeters along the European coasts in a century, the study shows that not all coasts are equal in the face of rising sea levels. Regions with glaciers are the big losers: Northern Europe and the Gulf of Bothnia, between Sweden and Finland, are rising much faster than the world average. Other differences are due to atmospheric specificities in Europe, such as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), a sawtooth area between the Azores and southern Iceland that causes very strong winds and temperature variations that will literally move the oceans. So, ” during the positive phase of the NAO, water rises in the North Sea and on the Norwegian coasts, while the levels on the French coasts are higher during its negative phase », We can read.

Climate Central, Land that will be subject to flooding in 2050

A sea of ​​opportunities

« The future of Europe in the Atlantic is both a place of concern and of promisereassures Professor Tor Eldevik, who also participated in the study. Our report is very clear on future climate risks, but we also looked at the opportunities that might arise from understanding the relationship between ocean state and climatic conditions. »Data that should make it possible to develop policies for the protection of endangered people and their environment.

« Future variations in the ocean depend on our success or failure in stopping global warming. […] Exceeding the 2 ° C above the Paris Agreement would cause Antarctica to melt at the rate of 0.5 cm per year in 2100. »In particular, it encourages European states to maximize the use of renewable energies such as hydropower and offshore wind turbines, rather than the use of biomass. which continues to release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

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Source: Numerama by www.numerama.com.

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