Peterborough (which is 35 miles inland) could be a seaside city

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  • Global temperatures are set rise by 3°C, as predicted by the United Nations
  • The UN predicts that this temperature rise could happen within this century 
  • Globally, Florida, Manhattan and Rio de Janeiro could all be submerged

Phoebe Weston For Mailonline

Peterborough could be set to become a seaside city if global temperatures rise by 3°C – despite the fact it’s 35 miles from the coast.

Sea levels could rise by this amount in the coming decades, potentially flooding large swathes of Lincolnshire’s low-lying agricultural land and placing Cambridgeshire on the coast.

The UN predicts that this temperature rise could happen within this century. 

Globally the world’s coastline will completely change shape – with chunks of Florida, Manhattan and Rio de Janeiro all becoming submerged by rising seas.

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Peterborough could be set to become a seaside city if global temperatures rise by 3°C – despite the fact it’s 35 miles from the coast. This graphic shows the areas that will be flooded (in blue) near Peterborough as a result of sea level rise this century 

LINCOLNSHIRE FLOODING

Lincolnshire is home to 30,000 vulnerable properties, according to the latest national flood assessment, with many residents unaware of how far inland flooding could happen.

Every year, beaches in Skegness are replenished with 350,000 cubic metres of sand.

In the small port town of Boston along the coast has had a £100m ($130m) flood barrier scheme.

According to a report by the Lincolnshire Research Observatory more than one in ten people in the county are employed in food and farming worth around £1 billion ($1.3 billion) each year.

Nearly a quarter of all land used for horticulture in England is in Lincolnshire and the proportion of peas, beans, vegetables and salads grown in the county is even higher.

These investments are part of the UK’s efforts at managed retreat, although if temperatures do rise by 3°C it could demand more drastic action.

‘We’ve heard that the coast will move so far inland that Peterborough will become a seaside town,’ Jason Elliot who works in a shop in Skegness told the Guardian.

‘We all assume we’ll be OK for a good while, but it would be sad if one day Skegness was to go. 

‘So many people live here and so many holidaymakers have had fun here’, he said. 

Lincolnshire is home to 30,000 vulnerable properties, according to the latest national flood assessment, with many residents unaware of how far inland flooding could happen. 

Every year, beaches in Skegness are replenished with 350,000 cubic metres of sand.

In the small port town of Boston along the coast has had a £100m ($130m) flood barrier scheme. 

According to a report by the Lincolnshire Research Observatory more than one in ten people in the county are employed in food and farming worth around £1 billion ($1.3 billion) each year.

Nearly a quarter of all land used for horticulture in England is in Lincolnshire and the proportion of peas, beans, vegetables and salads grown in the county is even higher.

These investments are part of the UK’s efforts at managed retreat, although if temperatures do rise by 3°C it could demand more drastic action.

According to the UN the average surface temperature will rise by this amount within this century – with some areas of the world likely to warm by even more.

In the Pliocene Epoch, which ended 2.5 million years ago, temperatures were three degrees higher than our pre-industrial levels.

Peterborough could be set to become a seaside city if global temperatures rise by 3°C as predicted by the United Nations - despite the fact it's 35 miles from the coast 

Peterborough could be set to become a seaside city if global temperatures rise by 3°C as predicted by the United Nations - despite the fact it's 35 miles from the coast 

Peterborough could be set to become a seaside city if global temperatures rise by 3°C as predicted by the United Nations – despite the fact it’s 35 miles from the coast 

‘At that time, there was almost no ice anywhere. The sea level was 20 meters (65 feet) or so higher, and forests went to the edge of the Arctic Ocean where there is now tundra,’ Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies told Aljazeera.

‘It takes a long time for those changes to manifest, but if we see 3°C … it pushes us in that direction,’ he added.

Although the nations of the world have agreed to work on limiting the warming to 2°C, they have yet to finalise a program that will successfully achieve this goal.

Even if global warming falls below the governments’ target of 2°C, around 20 per cent of the world’s population will be forced to migrate away from coasts.

The red dots show the areas that will be hardest by sea level rise, with 75-100 per cent of the populations in these cities submerged under an 'average' global warming scenario which would be a 2°C rise in temperatures. They include Shanghair and Tianjin in China and Mumbai, Calcultta and Dhaka in India

The red dots show the areas that will be hardest by sea level rise, with 75-100 per cent of the populations in these cities submerged under an 'average' global warming scenario which would be a 2°C rise in temperatures. They include Shanghair and Tianjin in China and Mumbai, Calcultta and Dhaka in India

The red dots show the areas that will be hardest by sea level rise, with 75-100 per cent of the populations in these cities submerged under an ‘average’ global warming scenario which would be a 2°C rise in temperatures. They include Shanghair and Tianjin in China and Mumbai, Calcultta and Dhaka in India

That means that unless we cut carbon emission drastically, major cities such as New York, London, and Shanghai, will be completely submerged, scientists have warned.

Alison Baptiste, director of strategy and investment at the Environment Agency told MailOnline: ‘A changing climate will alter the frequency, intensity, duration and timing of extreme weather – as a result we expect to see an increase in extreme events such as flooding.

‘The Environment Agency builds climate change projections into the design of flood defences to make sure they are fit for the future – and we plan for the worst case scenarios.’  

Rising seas are caused by the expansion of warming ocean water and water runoff from melting ice sheets and glaciers. 

A rise of just 2°C will cause massive flooding throughout coastal cities like London (pictured) and force residents to retreat inland

A rise of just 2°C will cause massive flooding throughout coastal cities like London (pictured) and force residents to retreat inland

A rise of just 2°C will cause massive flooding throughout coastal cities like London (pictured) and force residents to retreat inland

Currently, sea levels are rising by three to four millimetres (0.10 to 0.15 inches) a year, but the rate has increased by about 30 per cent over the last decade. 

Global average temperatures have increased by one degree Celsius (1.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since the mid-19th century, with most of that happening in the last 70 years.

In May researchers predicted global warming would dramatically increase the frequency of coastal flooding by 2050.

Tropical regions will be the worst hit, and researchers forecast a 10-to-20 centimeter (four-to-eight inch) jump in the global ocean watermark by mid-century.

Major cities along the North American seaboard such as Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, along with the European Atlantic coast, would be highly exposed, the researchers say.

According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois in Chicago, even at the low end of sea rise spectrum, coastal cities such as Mumbai, Kochi in India and Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire would be significantly affected.

‘We are 95 per cent confident that an added 5-to-10 centimetres will more than double the frequency of flooding in the tropics,’ said Dr Sean Vitousek, a climate scientist at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

He said that small island countries, which are already vulnerable to flooding, would fare far worse.