As a result of climate change, we are facing warmer temperatures. These higher temperatures are caused by thermal expansion, melting of glaciers, and human-emitted greenhouse gasses, consequently resulting in a rise in sea levels.
The Paris Agreement suggests that overall global temperatures should be kept below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and hold the temperature increase up to 1.5°C. The Met Office warns that there would be devastating consequences if we do not limit our carbon footprint and slow down the process of global warming.
Climate change is not only threatening Welsh landscapes and people’s livelihoods, but it’s also putting one of Wales’ most loved castles in danger, alongside a number of other key landmarks across the UK.
In an attempt to highlight the urgency of sea level rise, GreenMatch created an interactive map (below) to highlight the threat of sea level rise in the UK by 2050, as well as by the year 2100.
This study revealed that Caernarfon Castle in Gwynedd is one of several important UK historical sites at severe risk of being impacted by sea level rise by 2100. The castle is located on the north bank of the River Seiont. The medieval fortress is recognised as one of Wales’ most impressive castles and has the UNESCO World Heritage Site status. It is also globally recognised as one of the greatest buildings of the Middle Ages.
Gwynedd was established a century ago, which indicates that the first properties were built on land reclaimed from the sea. This explains why, nowadays, these properties are only just above sea level.
By the year 2050, the sea level risk will not have damaging consequences on the landmark. However, by 2100, the landmark will be exposed to severe danger, causing the castle to be submerged.
Even if we achieve the climate change goals and stabilise temperatures to up to 1.5°C, we can’t escape losing key cultural landmarks such as the Caernarfon Castle. We should not only take governmental actions into account, but also personal efforts.
Governments offering grants and incentives for renewables such as solar panels are a positive step forward to encourage homeowners to invest in renewables and mitigate the negative effects of climate change – but with a new global study released today, signed by 11,000 scientists, more needs to be done, and fast or we could see the loss of one of some of the UK’s most iconic landmarks.
Image of Caernarfon Castle by Neil Thomas
Created by GreenMatch