Statue of Liberty, Sydney Opera House May Soon be Lost Due to Sea Level Rise: Scientists Warns

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By Parismita Goswami | March 6, 2014 6:02 PM EST

Famous international attractions Statue of Liberty, Tower of London and Sydney Opera House, might soon be lost due to rising sea level caused by climatic changes, according to scientists.

Reuters
Statue of Liberty, Sydney Opera House May Soon be Lost Due to Sea Level Rise: Scientists Warns

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The study warns that nearly one-fifth of the 720 world heritage sites will be affected as the climate becomes warmer resulting in melting ice sheets and increasing warmer oceans.

The study estimate extends up to 2000 years, which looks too far a concern. But the authors said that if early action into controlling flood is not taken then the first impact would be felt much sooner.

"It's relatively safe to say that we will see the first impacts at these sites in the 21st century. Typically when people talk about climate change it's about the economic or environmental consequences, how much it's going to cost. We wanted to take a look at the cultural implications." the Guardian quoted Ben Marzeion, University of Innsbruck, Austria and lead author of the study.

According to the scientist, the leaning tower of Pisa is one among the vulnerable sites as the heritage attraction may be affected due to low temperature increase or the rising sea level because of its low-lying despite being situated off the coast.

He also mentioned about Venice, which is already being impacted by the rising sea level. Apart from Venice, Hanseatic League cities including Hamburg, Bremen in Germany and Lubeck are also in the list of danger sites.

Some other sites that are cited as rising water concerns include Westminster Palace and Westminster Abbey, the city centres of Bruges in Belgium, St Petersburg in Russia, Naples in Italy. South-east Asia would witness the highest number of inhabitants being affected by the rising sea level.

"After 2000 years, the oceans would have reached a new equilibrium state and we can compute the ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica from physical models. At the same time, we consider 2000 years a short enough time to be of relevance for the cultural heritage we cherish." said Anders Levermann, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the study co-author.

The study admits that currently, the treat to cultural sites from the rising sea is unlikely to occur as the study doesn't consider the temporary rise in sea levels such as one caused by a storm.

"Essentially those are uncertainties that we cannot quantify, so we made sure we are on the conservative side of the estimates," Marzeion said.

"I'm not overly optimistic that culture means more interest in the subject. It's hard to convince people it's a problem if they're not convinced. There appears to be a strong divide between people who feel it is a problem and people who don't." he added.

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Statue of Liberty, Sydney Opera House May Soon be Lost Due to Sea Level Rise: Scientists Warns
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