Sunday, March 28, 2010

Global warming 'will split South Uist in two' as rising sea surges inland

Jenny Fyall in the Scotsman: People living in low-lying South Uist have warned that their island could be split in two unless action is taken to tackle the impact of flooding and sea-level rise. The island in the Outer Hebrides is already dotted with large numbers of inland lochs, which locals believe will eventually join up.

Under climate change scenarios published by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa), the seas around South Uist will rise by at least 37cm by 2080. Warmer, wetter winters are also predicted. With a lack of coastal barriers to keep the sea at bay, there are fears that Loch Eynort, in central South Uist, could flood and join with nearby Loch Ollay, forming a continuous stretch of water from the east to west coast. Already, with heavy rainfall, some parts of South Uist become temporary islands, with houses cut off and surrounded by water, due to lochs joining with the sea.

On Sunday, concerned residents will give local MSP Alasdair Allan a tour of the island to highlight their fears for the future. They believe habitable areas will shrink, fishing will become more dangerous, and there will be less land to farm unless action is taken to keep the water at bay. They want better sea defences, drainage systems and early warning systems for dangerous areas liable to flood….

Flowering machair, Hills of South Uist, Outer Hebrides, shot by Tim Niblett, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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