Flood Ark

Global Warming and the Flood Risk to Coastal Homes

01/06/2017 Flooding, United Kingdom

There was some glorious sunshine over the bank holiday weekend and many staycationers headed to Britain’s popular seaside towns. Beach towns from Brighton to Bridlington were packed full of sunseekers and tourists enjoying an ice cream on the esplanade. Many of these coastal communities are under serious threat from sea level rise due to climate change – perhaps sooner than you might think. Water level meterDouble the Risk of Flooding


The experience of elevated water levels in coastal areas is episodic. Tides rise and fall, storm surges are created by a combination of wind and atmospheric pressure and there are seasonal cycles and even longer ‘climatic cycles’ (the most famous of which is probably El Niño, but there are similar climatic effects operating elsewhere in the oceans). Predicting precisely when water will spill over sea defences is notoriously hard to do until the event is nearly upon us, because it involves a knowledge of all these factors. However, it is possible to keep a record of the frequency of these events – how often coastal flooding occurs in a year. Scientists have noticed that even small increases in sea level rise lead to a doubling of the frequency of these events.  


Sea Level Rise 


Sea levels are rising by about 4mm per year. This rise is caused by the melting of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets and the thermal expansion of sea water (warm water is less dense than cold water). An article published in the Journal of Scientific Reports shows how sea level rise rarely causes flooding directly, but instead causes it “…indirectly by hydrodynamic feedbacks: sea level rise alters water depths, changing the generation, propagation and interaction of waves, tides, and storm surges.” A doubling of the frequency of flooding events is predicted to occur with a sea level rise of between 5cm and 10cm which, at current rates, could be here sometime in the 2040s. 


Preparing for Inundation


Homes and businesses in regions that have been historically affected by coastal flooding need to be prepared for this increase in frequency. People living and working in a region that experiences breaches of sea defences every five years or so need to have a system in place to defend themselves from floodwaters every couple of years. Some will find it hard to insure their properties as there are many exemptions from the Flood Re insurance scheme that is supposed to provide reasonable cover for properties at risk of flooding. 


Flood Ark Flood Barriers 


At Flood Ark, we build and install flood barriers designed to protect your property. Our flood barriers have been awarded the PAS 1188-1:2014 Kitemark accreditation. In the course of being tested by Kitemark, Flood Ark barriers successfully protected openings against static water, fast flowing water and waves of the kind generated by storm surges. 


If you would like more information on our flood protection barriers or to arrange for a FREE consultation where we will assess the flood risk of your property, call Flood Ark on +44 (0) 1603 879977. You may also email any questions you have to info@floodark.com.