Thursday, March 12, 2009

Rising Sea levels spell trouble for Ireland

Yet another report is warning of the threat of rising sea levels as icecaps melt at the North and South Poles due to global warning.

In this morning's Irish Examiner a Cork based expert has questioned the wisdom of the development of large scale housing in the city's dockland. Robert Devoy, Professor of Geography at University College Cork is a member of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was echoing the international warning given by learned scientists at a conference in Copenhagen, Denmark earlier this week.

Professor Devoy has said that the cost of remedial engineering such as the construction of a barrage at the mouth of the River Lee would be extremely expensive and counselled against large scale residential projects in areas prone to flooding or which may suffer future flooding, such as Cork's docklands.

The IPCC are warning that the world's oceans could rise by 18 to 59 centimetres by the year 2100 and possibly sooner. If sea levels rise by 1 metre or more it could spell disaster for hundreds of millions of people living in coastal regions worldwide.

Cork City centre already has a long history of flooding dating from the city's early origins on a series of islands where the River Lee meets the tidal waters of Cork Harbour. These islands were reclaimed in the 17th and 18th century but we still receive regular reminders of their history with seasonal flooding in the flat city centre. Further downsteam there may be problems too with significant residential developments along the low-lying areas of the shoreline. Examples include Cobh, Monkstown, Rochestown and even Midleton.

Here is an interesting link to an interactive online map that shows some of the areas which would be worst affected. You can zoom right into any area on the planet for a more detailed view.

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