This map shows which areas of Yorkshire could be submerged if sea levels rise

Wednesday, 7th August 2019, 8:54 am
Updated Wednesday, 7th August 2019, 10:13 am

With recent heavy rainfall at Whaley Bridge almost causing a total dam collapse, we are once again reminded of the reality of climate change, which could bring further devastating floods in the coming years without decisive action.

As greenhouse gases heat up the atmosphere, ice sheets and glaciers around the world have begun to melt and the water in the sea itself has expanded, contributing to rising sea levels and putting coastal communities particularly at risk.

In addition to this, several studies have predicted that extreme rainfall events will become more common, putting low-lying settlements at risk of destructive flooding.

For several areas across Yorkshire, this is bad news.

Low-lying York and Leeds have experienced extreme flooding events over the past few years, Hull is built on a flood plain, and the North Yorkshire coastline is at risk of receding, taking entire communities along with it.

So what will Yorkshire look like in decades to come if the planet continues to heat up?

Using data collected from the Firetree Flood Map, here are the areas across Yorkshire that may find themselves submerged in the coming decades thanks to global warming.

The map was created using data collected from NASA and Google's API mapping tool, and presents predictions only.

1m rise in sea level

Some scientists believe it's possible that we could see sea levels rise by up to a metre during this century. Hull is considered one of the most at-risk places in Yorkshire for flooding, and if sea levels rose this high, large swathes of the city would be underwater.

The north of the East Riding region is predicted to be particularly hard hit, with Linley airfield north of Beverly almost totally submerged in water.


Areas to the east of Doncaster would also suffer damages under 1m of sea level rise.


2m of sea level rise

According to recent projections from the United Nations, it's possible that global sea levels could rise by up to 2m by the end of the century.

In this scenario, the eastern tip of Yorkshire by the Humber river would be almost completely submerged by water, while further parts of Hull - particularly the northernmost outskirts, would be flooded.

With 2m of sea level rise, flooding would also have begun to creep up towards Selby and Howden.


6m of sea level rise

Beyond this end-of-century prediction for rising sea levels, a rise of 6m above normal levels would see Hull, Howden and Selby disappear entirely, with water creeping up to Tadcaster and York too.


30m of sea level rise

At an extreme level of a 30m sea level rise, the face of Yorkshire would look totally different. The historic city of York would be long washed away, with water creeping up beyond Boroughbridge all the way to Northallerton.


The seaside towns of Whitby and Bridlington would be almost completely underwater, and further West Leeds and Wakefield would also be struggling against the encroaching tides.

60m of sea level rise

Although a level of damage today's population is unlikely to see in their lifetime, the sea could theoretically rise by around 55m were all the ice on the planet to melt completely.

In this scenario, practically all of the East Riding of Yorkshire would be gone. Beyond that, large swatches of North Yorkshire would be entirely submerged, including areas just below the North Yorkshire Moors.


Wakefield, Leeds and Doncaster would also have been washed away by the sea, as would most of Rotherham and parts of Sheffield.


Bradford and Harrogate, according to the flood map predictions, would be two of the only major towns to avoid serious damage.