climate change study has revealed that Bristol and surrounding areas could be underwater by the end of the next decade.

As the Met Office releases its annual look at UK climate and weather for 2021, it has revealed how our perceptions of climate change have changed as trends show that sea levels are rising faster than ever.

Despite ‘unremarkable’ weather in 2021, it would have been one of the hottest years prior to 1990.

The underwater climate change study has been conducted by Climate Central, an independent organisation of leading scientists and journalists who research climate change and its impact on the public.


The organisation used current projections to produce a map showing which areas of the country would be underwater by 2040.

The map shows that most of the coastal areas around Bristol will lose at least some land to the rising sea levels.

Areas near Bristol that could be underwater by 2040

Areas along the banks of the River Severn could see significant flooding by 2040 including Berkeley, Oldbury-on-Severn and Frampton on Severn.

Chittening, Avonmouth and Severn Beach could also lose significant land mass to flooding plus other areas.

Gazette Series: Credit: Climate CentralCredit: Climate Central

However, Climate Central admits the calculations that have led to fears of a nightmare scenario may include "some error".

It says: "These maps incorporate big datasets, which always include some error. These maps should be regarded as screening tools to identify places that may require deeper investigation of risk."

The maps have been based on "global-scale datasets for elevation, tides and coastal flood likelihoods" and "imperfect data is used".

Gazette Series: Credit: Climate CentralCredit: Climate Central

Somewhat comfortingly, Climate Central adds: "Our approach makes it easy to map any scenario quickly and reflects threats from permanent future sea-level rise well.

"However, the accuracy of these maps drops when assessing risks from extreme flood events.

"Our maps are not based on physical storm and flood simulations and do not take into account factors such as erosion, future changes in the frequency or intensity of storms, inland flooding, or contributions from rainfall or rivers."

But it adds: "Improved elevation data indicate far greater global threats from sea level rise and coastal flooding than previously thought and thus greater benefits from reducing their causes."

Mike Kendon, from the Met Office National Climate Information Centre said today of the 2021 annual report: “What we regard as fairly normal now, in the past that would have been pretty unusual, so our perception of what is normal is changing as our climate changes.”