Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Thames Barrier gets extra time as London's main flood defence

Guardian (UK): London is less vulnerable to rising sea levels caused by global warming than experts realised, according to a new analysis. Experts at the Environment Agency said the Thames Barrier will protect the city for decades longer than engineers thought, with a six-year study revealing that the barrier's original designs overestimated the threat from climate change.

Rather than becoming obsolete by 2030, as its designers thought, the barrier will not need to be replaced until 2070, the agency said today. Chris Burnham, who worked on the Environment Agency project, called the results "good news". He said the barrier's designers had overestimated the likely sea level rise in coming decades when they gave the flood defence a best-before date of 2030.

"London is defended. We can deal with it," he said. A decision on whether to modify or replace the barrier will not be needed until the middle of the century, the agency said….

Adrian Pingstone shot this image of workers maintaining the Thames Barrier, and generously released it into the public domain. Thank you!

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