LARGE parts of Helensburgh and Lomond are at much greater risk of coastal flooding caused by climate change than initially feared, according to a study by Climate Central.

A report released by the independent organisation of leading scientists and journalists reveals far greater global threats from sea level rise than previously thought.

The ‘Flooded Future’ paper, published in the Nature Communications journal, estimates 300 million people worldwide will be living in areas below the projected average annual flood heights in 2050.

An interactive map, using improved digital elevation model (DEM) data, shows swathes of Helensburgh, Rhu, Garelochhead and the peninsula could be permanently underwater in just 30 years.

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Waitrose and Hermitage Academy, along with Craigendoran railway station to the east of Helensburgh, are particularly vulnerable, as is the site of the new £20 million swimming pool and leisure complex.

The updated CoastalDEM method suggests that many of the world’s coastlines are far lower than has been generally known and presents a bleak outlook for coastal communities along the Clyde and Gareloch.

The study says that even if moderate cuts are made to the amount of heat-trapping gases added to the atmosphere over the next three decades, the number of people at threat from rising sea levels will increase more than three-fold in some of the planet’s most densely populated countries.

The report states: “As sea levels continue to rise throughout the century, chronic flooding will spread and more land will be permanently lost to the ocean.

“The bad news is again concentrated in Asia. China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand are home to the greatest number of people who today live on land that could be threatened by permanent inundation by 2100 - 151 million in total, and 43 million in China alone.

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“But the danger of permanent inundation is by no means be limited to Asia. In 19 countries, from Nigeria and Brazil to Egypt and the United Kingdom, land now home to at least one million people could fall permanently below the high tide line at the end of the century and become permanently inundated, in the absence of coastal defences.”

The report, which does not take into account existing or potential future coastal protections, adds: “Over the course of the twenty-first century, global sea levels are projected to rise between about two and seven feet, and possibly more.

“The key variables will be how much warming pollution humanity dumps into the atmosphere and how quickly the land-based ice sheets in Greenland and especially Antarctica destabilise.”

The full map can be found at

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