GCSE Geography AQA A The Coastal Zone: Rising sea level in East Anglia

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  • Rising sea level in East Anglia
    • Causes
      • The main cause of sea level rise is the thermal expansion of water which is when water expands due to global warming.
      • Water is trapped in glaciers and so when they melt more water is added to the oceans causing a rise in sea level.
    • Environment impacts
      • Important agricultural land (the fens) will be lost.
      • Low lying mudflats and marshes are vulnerable to sea level rise. 22% could be lost by 2050. in some places managed retreated will allow deleiberate flooding of land.
      • Sea level rising will cause large areas to be at risk from flooding including farmland.
    • Social Impacts
      • Erosion is likely to threaten settlements like Overstrand and Happisburgh, so new sea defences are needed.
      • In 1953 a storm surge killed 500 people and people are concerned that rising sea levels will increase the risk of this occurring again.
      • If the Thames barrier is not replaced in 30 - 50 years then housing settlements may be flooded.
    • Political impacts
      • In some areas, the politically controversial decision to allow managed retreat may be considered.
      • In 30 - 50 years the political decision to replace the Thames Barrier will be considered as it protects up to £80bn worth of buildings.
      • In places such as Overstrand and Happisburgh, the council will consider whether it is suitable to renew the sea defences or not.
    • Economic Impacts
      • The Norfolk broads are a popular tourist destination bringing in £5m+ to the local area.
      • Places like Happisburgh and Overstrand will require new sea defences which are expensive.
      • The Thames Barrier protects over £80bn worth of buildings and replacing it will be expensive but worth while.


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