Dramatic impact of sea level rising along the eastern shores of the White Sea, Barents Sea and Gulf of Bothnia. In northwest-Russia, the tundra would overflow and cities like Arkhangelsk and Severodvinsk would be wiped out.
An interactive map created by scientists for the National Geographic predicts what will happen if all ice on earth melts resulting in sea level rises and water flows uncontrollably inland from the oceans.
There are more than five million cubic miles of ice on earth today, and international climate scientists do actually not know for sure what will happen to the sea levels if all ice melts. The National Geographic worst-case scenario maps are therefor published with a lot of uncertainties. Likely, it will take more than 5,000 years before all ice in Antarctica and on Greenland are totally gone.
The main reason why such sea level rise will have so tremendously dramatic effects in the Barents Region is the low altitude above sea level for most areas along Russia’s northern coasts. The shores of the Pechora Sea, the eastern branch of the Barents Sea, are just a few meters over current sea levels. The same goes for the coast in northern Nenets- and Yamal area along the current coast of the Kara Sea.
Rivers like Northern Dvina, Onega, Mezen and Ob will become huge inlets and major cities like Arkhangelsk, Severodvinsk and Naryan-Mar will be gone.
Cape Kanin will be an island and what is today the Pechore River will be a long fjord and archipelago. Also the west coast of Finland will be flooded wiping out cities like Oulo, Kemi and Tornio. Sweden, Norway and the Kola Peninsula are the areas least of all influenced by rising sea levels due to its geological rocks.
The alarming sea level scenarios are published simultaneously as the UN World Meteorological Organization publishes a report showing that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen to a record high, again. This spring, the CO2 levels passed the symbolic milestone of 400 ppm in the atmosphere.
Another report strengthens the disharmonious future for Russia’s Arctic coast pointing to increasing coastal erosion rates as the permafrost melts.
The report, published by Biogeosciences, argues that thermo-erosion of ice-rich permafrost coasts are increasing. Part of the study is based on sets of satellite imagery from 1965 to 2001. When the permafrost along the coast melts, waves and weather’s impact on the shores are more severe.
This photo shows the corrosion going on along the coastline on Kolgoyev island in the eastern Barents Sea. Photo: Thomas Nilsen