The research was conducted by an independent organization of eminent scientists and journalists, collectively known as the Central Climatewho investigate climate change and its impact on the public.
Using current projections, they produced a map showing which areas of the country would be submerged by 2030.
Places in Somerset threatened by rising sea levels
The Climate Central map reveals that large areas of Somerset are at risk of losing land to sea level rise within less than a decade.
The search results are grim for residents of Bridgwater, Burnham-on-Sea, Glastonbury and Weston-super-Mare, showing that most land in these areas is at risk of being lost to the sea.
The risk extends to towns as far inland as Langport, Muchelney and Ilchester
Elsewhere in Somerset, tourist destinations including major sections of Minehead, Blue Anchor, Bossington Beach and Porlock Weir are also in the ‘red zone’.
Towns such as Taunton, Wellington, Ilminster, Chard, Yeovil, Castle Cary and Shepton Mallet are all outside the ‘at risk’ areas.
Datasets include “an error”
Climate Central admits the calculations that raised fears of a nightmare scenario have “a few errors”.
He says: “These maps incorporate large datasets, which always include errors. These maps should be viewed as scouting tools to identify locations that may require further risk investigation.”
The maps were based on “worldwide datasets for elevation, tides and coastal flood probabilities” and “imperfect data is used”.
Somewhat comfortingly, Climate Central adds: “Our approach makes it easy to quickly map any scenario and accurately reflect the threats of future permanent sea level rise.
“However, the accuracy of these maps decreases when assessing extreme flood risk.
“Our maps are not based on physical simulations of storms and floods and do not take into account factors such as erosion, future changes in storm frequency or intensity, inland flooding, or contributions from precipitation or rivers.”
But he adds: “Improved elevation data points to far greater global threats from sea level rise and coastal flooding than previously thought, and therefore greater benefits in reducing their causes. .”