Monday, 16 July 2012
Climate Change 2150. Towards our Children's Children's Children
Planning for climate change up to the year 2150 may seem somewhat bizarre but there is a project involving Thanet just doing that. It is probably certain that all of us will not be around then so it is really a question of thinking beyond our own lives and looking towards those of our descendants.
What can we expect to happen?
The debate still goes on and those more clever than I have their theories. Are we really at a tipping point which could determine whether we become the new tropics or is the gulf stream about to be switched off by melting ice and we enter a new ice age? Remember we are on the same level as Alaska and no gulf stream would leave us with an Alaska climate.
Looking at recent weather patterns it would be easy to jump to the conclusion that we are moving to more extreme weather patterns. But then has this not been happening over the past millions of years? We have on a long timeline been a tropical region before and also an ice age.
Planning for climate change in coastal communities is therefore not easy or precise so it is necessary to look at many scenarios. Looking at the potential for warming and increased sea levels some of the things we are planning today are starting to err on the possibility of this happening. Take for instance our Turner Centre, it was thought prudent to raise its base higher to take into account increasing sea levels.
We are also seeing the the new Margate sea defence being built but again the design allows for an increase its height in the event of future increased sea levels.
Maybe we should also be looking at the Dreamland site. It would appear silly not to consider this site very carefully since much of it is low lying if not below sea level. If you consider sea level rises it would appear unwise to build housing on this site. Maybe the idea of a heritage theme park is a much better idea. At least rides would be much easier to shift than housing if the sea threatened the site. Maybe we should consider the idea of a marina.
Cheques and balances.
Climate change will bring threats and opportunities to our coastal community. Warmer weather could present more tourism. Perhaps we would be able to grow more exotic fruit and vegetables all the year round. On the other hand we could lose land and have to consider sea defences like those in Holland. The more you think about it the more threats and opportunities present themselves .
Involving the community.
A start has been made involving the community. Thanet Coast Project has had its first discussion group on the subject involving volunteer coastal wardens and more are planned. It is thought that the work of the wardens is essential in the planning process as their monitoring of our coast in terms of wildlife and use gives early indications of change.
Who knows what the future holds and the more I think about it I switch from 'am I bothered' I will not be here to maybe I have a chance to consider what we leave behind for our Children's Children's Children and that does worry me.
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