A Dutch oceanographer and his German colleague have proposed the construction of two giant dams to completely seal off the North Sea and protect the roughly 25 million Europeans living in coastal areas from the effects of rising water levels from global warming, according to The Guardian.
“In the darkest scenarios, scientists are predicting a 10-meter rise in water levels by 2500. Therefore, dams are the optimal solution in the face of climate change,” explained Shurd Groskamp, an oceanographer at the Royal Institute for Marine Research in the Netherlands. The "possible solution", he said, is to build a 475-kilometer dam between northern Scotland and western Norway, and another 160-kilometer dam between western France and southwest England.
In a joint article for the American Journal of Meteorology, Groskamp and his colleague Joakim Kjelsson of the Center for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, expressed the view that the proposal is "a warning of the danger of a problem looming over our heads."
According to their calculations, the cost of building such a protective dam in the North Sea will cost from 250 to 500 billion euros, which is only 0.1% of the total GDP of all countries that will be protected by it.
Scientists believe the dam is technically feasible: the North Sea between France and England rarely exceeds 100 meters, while between Scotland and Norway it averages about 127 meters, reaching just over 320 meters off the coast of Norway.
“Currently we can build fixed platforms at a depth of more than 500 meters, so this dam seems real,” Groscampon said in an interview. Scientists recognize that over time, if implemented, this project could transform a large part of the North Sea into a huge freshwater lake without tides, radically altering its ecosystem. “We estimated the construction costs by extrapolating the costs of the large dams that are being built in South Korea,” Groeskamp explained. Potential developers of this project ultimately need to consider factors such as the loss of revenue from fishing in the North Sea, increased transportation costs across the North Sea, and the cost of giant pumps to transport all river water that currently flows into the sea, he said. water area on the other side of the dam. However, they warned that the costs and consequences of inaction as sea levels rise will ultimately be "many times greater."
The British Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that the North Sea level will rise by 30-60 centimeters by 2100, even if the commitments of the Paris Agreement on climate are met. If air emissions continue to increase, then by 2100 the water level in the North Sea will rise by 84 centimeters, and by 2300 - to 5.4 meters. The threat is especially relevant for the Netherlands, about a third of which is below sea level.