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Marshlands in the UK could start to disappear in a little over 20 years due to rapid rises in sea levels, scientists have warned.
Durham University researchers estimate that marshes in the south east of England could start to disappear from the year 2040, and across all of the UK by 2100.
Samples - Sediments - Experts - Sea - Levels
Studying samples from sediments, experts have tracked sea levels over the past 10,000 years to study how changes have affected salt marshes.
The lasting effect of ice removal since the end of the last Ice Age means most of Scotland is rising and southern England is subsiding, which explains the difference in timescales.
Researchers - Disappearance - Marshlands - UK - Cities
Researchers claim the disappearance of marshlands around the UK could put coastal cities at risk of devastating floods.
The study, published in Nature Communications, is based on data from 800 salt-marsh soil cores and shows that rising sea levels over the last 10,000 years has led to increased water-logging of the salt marshes, killing vegetation that protects them from erosion and resulting in the marshes retreating landwards.
Trajectory - Salt - Marshes - Risk - Loss
'By 2100, if we continue upon a high-emissions trajectory, essentially all British salt marshes will face a high risk of loss,' said study co-author Robert E. Kopp, a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Rutgers-New Brunswick.
'Reducing emissions significantly increase the odds that salt marshes will survive.'
Salt - Marshes - Wetlands - Salt - Water
Salt marshes are coastal wetlands that are flooded and drained by salt water brought in by the tides and can be found along the British coast.
They are a transitional area between water and land and are home to delicate ecosystems.
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