LONDON – One dam stretches about 300 miles from the coast of Scotland to Norway. The other, about 100 miles, will rise in waters between northern France and southeast England.
Together, the massive structures proposed by scientists would completely annex the North Sea and protect the tens of millions of Europeans threatened by rising sea levels due to climate change.
The scholars behind the proposal, outlined in A paper was published on Thursday in the American Journal of MeteorologyHe said the scale of the project – which is only present at the broadest outline at this point – reflects the urgent need for the crisis.
“See this as a warning,” said one of the authors, Sjoerd Groeskamp The Royal Netherlands Institute for Marine Research. “What we are saying is: Here is a plan, a plan that we don’t want. But if we end up needing it, it is technically and financially possible.”
The project will be one of the largest engineering works ever tested on the planet and will cost between $ 250 billion and $ 550 billion, according to the proposal – a cost proposed by the authors and can be covered by more than a dozen countries in northern Europe that will be protected by the barrier.
Some experts have expressed doubts that the North Sea Dam is the best solution to deal with rising sea levels.
“My initial reaction is suspicion,” said Craig Goff, a dam safety engineer in Britain for nearly 20 years. “I think building defenses along the coast of Europe will be cheaper and faster than building dam structures across the North Sea.”
Even the scientists behind the proposal admit that trying to bridge the entire North Sea is not an ideal solution.
They said that much better would be for the proposal to be a warning, and clearly indicating the type of sharp action that may become necessary if global leaders are unable to find a way to tackle climate change.
Scientists wrote: “It may be impossible to truly understand the magnitude of the threat” posed by sea level rise, but imagine the scale of solutions required to protect ourselves from the means that help sea level rise in our ability to recognize and understand the threat posed by sea level rise. .
Another co-author of the newspaper, Joachim Kelson, is a Swedish professor at Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research in KielGermany said that no formal proposal has been made to the countries that will be protected by the wall.
“In the end, we concluded that this extreme solution would be much better and less dramatic to reduce our CO2 emissions and reduce global warming so that we do not need this kind of thing,” he said in an interview.
If the carbon pollution continues to grow, Mr. Griescamp said, sea levels by 2100 may exceed 40 inches (meters).
If anything changes, Mr. Kelson said, millions of people will be forced to leave their homes – to become truly climate refugees. Even today, coastal cities like San Francisco and Manila face the consequences of sea-level rise.
By 2050, about 150 million people in low-lying coastal cities may find themselves below the high tide line, threatening to flood entire cities, according to a report by Central climate, A science organization based in New Jersey.
The proposed dams will dwarf the largest of these barriers ever built AvsluteDike In the Netherlands, and Saemangeum Seawall, In South Korea, which is 21 miles long The longest marine wall in the world.
In terms of size, the North Sea Dams will need at least 51 billion tons of sand – roughly equivalent to the total annual use of that commodity in construction projects worldwide.
While the water depths can be controlled in much of the proposed area to be covered, engineers will also have to face the Norwegian trench, which sank to a depth of approximately 1,000 feet.
The authors say that the technology used by fixed oil platforms can be adapted to the dam.
Building such structures across the North Sea would forever alter the environmental composition of the area. Sea isolation will stop the tidal flow, eventually turning it into a freshwater lake of species that makes it inseparable for saltwater dependent species.
This in turn will have economic consequences, including on income from North Sea fishing.
However, as the authors of the proposal note, the better choices become less the greater the risk of sea level rise.
If only one country is aware of the risks and challenges of dealing with the sea, it is the Netherlands, where many countries are on land below sea level.
“It is a somewhat extreme plan for the distant future,” said Ferdinand Dermans, a flood risk expert at the Netherlands’ Deltaris Institute for Water Research. But when talking about the possibility of sea level rise to several meters, he pointed out that “there are no simple solutions.”