Dams between Scotland, Norway, France and England ‘a possible solution’ to problem

A Dutch government scientist has proposed building two mammoth dams to completely enclose the North Sea and protect an estimated 25 million Europeans from the consequences of rising sea levels as a result of global heating.

Sjoerd Groeskamp, an oceanographer at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, said a 475km dam between north Scotland and west Norway and another 160km one between west France and south-west England was “a possible solution”.

In a paper to be published this month in the American Journal of Meteorology, Groeskamp and Joakim Kjellsson of the Geomar centre for ocean research in Kiel, Germany, say the idea is affordable and technically feasible – if intended more as “a warning of the immensity of the problem hanging over our heads”.

Based on existing projects, the scientists estimate the cost of building a so-called North Sea Enclosure Dyke at between €250bn and €500bn. Spread over 20 years, the annual cost to the 14 countries that would be protected by it would amount to just over 0.1% of their combined GDP, they calculate.

Groeskamp said it also appeared technically viable. The depth of the North Sea between France and England rarely exceeded 100 metres, he said, while between Scotland and Norway it averaged about 127 metres, peaking at just over 320 off the coast of Norway.

“We are currently able to build fixed platforms in depths exceeding 500 metres, so such a dam seems feasible,” he said.

Read more: The Guardian