The global climate is changing, and it is changing at an ever increasing speed. Global temperatures have risen over 1˚C since 1850 which has had noticeable impacts upon our planet. Glaciers are melting at speed and the weather is becoming more and more unpredictable. Average sea levels have also risen 16cm between 1902 and 2015. These changes will continue and they will accelerate unless drastic changes are made to the way we live our lives.
In Ireland and Wales we expect to experience warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers. Extreme weather events such as intense rainfall, droughts and storms may happen more often.
The changes in temperatures are well presented by the header image of this page which is a depiction of the average annual temperatures for Wales (top) and Ireland (bottom). Each stripe represents annual average temperature from 1884 to 2018. Blue stripes are cooler, red stripes are warmer temperatures. Clear in the images is that an overwhelming percentage of the highest annual temperatures during this period have occurred in the previous 30 years. (graphic produced using UK Met Office data by E. Hawkins, University of Reading, www.showyourstripes.info)
Predicted changes in future climate will have different effects on our coastal heritage. Some climate changes will occur generally whilst others will be evident depending upon the time of year. Explore the different predicted changes bellow and where they are expected to be seen on our coastal environment.
1 Rising sea levels impacting on all aspects of coastal heritage as a result of flooding and storm surges
2 A rise in sea temperature bringing new marine species and pests affecting underwater and intertidal heritage
3 Drying out of cliff faces increasing the risk of destabilisation and collapse affecting heritage sites on the coast
4 The discovery of new heritage sites visible as parchmarks and cropmarks
6 Turbulent seas damaging heritage on the seabed and foreshore
7 Erosion and loss at the coast edge from wave action
8 Breaches in coastal barriers leading to flooding
9 The movement of sand reshaping dune systems but also revealing hidden heritage
10 Structural damage to buildings
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