TECH

The UK's Coast Could Be Under Water Sooner Than We Thought

“We’re in danger of handing young people a situation that’s out of their control."

23/03/2016 16:32 GMT | Updated 23/03/2016 16:32 GMT

The devastating effect of climate change could be much worse than what we first anticipated, scientists have said.

They warn that the rise in global sea levels could increase by "several metres," resulting in major cities being submerged.

Lead researcher and former NASA climate scientist, James E. Hansen told the New York Times: “We’re in danger of handing young people a situation that’s out of their control."

Christopher Furlong via Getty Images
James Hansen: “We’re in danger of handing young people a situation that’s out of their control."

Their research was published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics and it cites past climate patterns along with models of the future to explain how the rise in sea levels could be far worse than we first thought. 

In February, another paper, published in Nature Climate Change, suggested that even if the world tried to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius (above the preindustrial level) several cities including New York, London and Rio de Janeiro, could risk being submerged. 

However, scientists have questioned Hansen's bold predictions for sea level rise.

Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University, told the Guardian that the paper caused him "concern".

“Namely, the projected amounts of meltwater seem … large, and the ocean component of their model doesn’t resolve key wind-driven current systems (e.g. the Gulf Stream) which help transport heat poleward,” he said.