Thames flooding will be less severe than feared

by Michael Smith

Now who would have thought that??? Not so long ago we were being told that Climate Change would result in most of London probably flooding to a couple of feet and now is appears to be a case of “oh, well, it looks we got it wrong”. Same as the threat that are always talked about of the temperatures continuing to rise when, according to studies from elsewhere, it is reckoned that the temperatures have plateaued out and have not risen, even by the smallest of a fraction over the last six or so years.

Research by the Met Office suggests that climate change is likely to have less of an impact on water levels in the Thames than previously feared.

The research predicts that melting glaciers and icecaps combined with the water in the oceans expanding as the world heats up will translate into a rise of 20cm to 90cm in the Thames Estuary over the next century.

While this range is most likely, the report also cautions that there is a great deal of uncertainty about just how much of a contribution polar ice melt is likely to have, and in the water in the Thames could quite possibly rise by up to 2 metres.

Previous worst-case scenario of increases in maximum water levels can be revised down from 4.2 metres to 2.7 metres.

Such a reduction in worst-case scenario for this century means that a tide-excluding estuary barrage is unlikely to be necessary to manage flood risk this century.

The research also suggests that a surge in water levels in the Thames estuary from North Sea storms will not be as frequent or extreme as previously feared.

Behind the Thames barrier, the water could flow higher and faster than it does now - in Kingston, just West of London, for example, peak flow could be 40% higher than today by 2080.

Speaking about the results, Dr Jason Lowe, head of mitigation at the Met Office, said: "Having greater clarity on things such as storm-surge frequency is tremendously valuable and not just from a scientific point of view. This research will help to direct investment where it is most needed to manage the impacts of climate change."

Tim Reeder, Regional climate change programme manager for the Environment Agency Thames Region said: "This research enables the Environment Agency to continue to plan flood management investment with confidence.

"By narrowing previous uncertainty we now have an improved understanding of how climate change will affect the Thames Estuary and can develop realistic and cost-effective options, which will meet future needs.

"These are cutting-edge results and demonstrate the value of the Government engaging with the world-class scientists we have here in the UK."

The Environment Agency commissioned climate scientists from the Met Office Hadley Centre, the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology to investigate what impact climate change will have on the area over the next 100 years.

All those figures, however, only add up – and even then not necessarily – if the temperatures will continue to rise which, so it would appear, they have not done for the last 6 or so years and if we do not, in fact, start to go into a cooling period, as predicted by the Old Farmers' Almanac, for instance.

The suggestion that the temperatures have plateaued out and have not rise also give credence to the coming cooling and even mini ice age theory and prediction. This is, in fact, a way the Earth has been running for ever, so it would appear, and from observations that most of the scientists with an agenda seem not to wish to see, this has been so ate least for the last three millennia. There was a warm tp hot period during the times of the Romans in Britain and then during the time of the arrival of the Vikings in Newfoundland, which they called Vinland on the account of the sweet dark red grapes growing there. After each of those periods the Earth went rather more or less rapidly back into cooling and the results were mini ice ages, like then ones when the River Thames was frozen that solid that ice fairs were held on it.

The biggest problem mankind is facing is the fact that we may, more than likely, be unable to actually do anything about the Climate Change that is upon us, whether rising temperatures – though apparently, as said they know longer do so – or falling ones.

Presently we seem to have entered a most wobbly period in the Earth's climate cycles and we, more than likely, will be experiencing ongoing shifts in weather patterns and we will have to simply learn to live with it which, at the same time, reducing our impact on the environment and the Earth as a whole. We simply cannot go on living as if every resource is infinite.

For much of it we may have to go back to the future in order to actually progress and make our planet one that we can pass on to our children and children's children. We must celan it up and then some more.

© M Smith (Veshengro), October 2008