Sat, Dec 01, 2012 - Page 9 News List

New land, but also costs, as Nordic nations rise from sea

A rebound after the last ice age brings new farmland, but also costs, as land needs restructuring to offset the rise

By Alister Doyle  /  Reuters, LULEA, Sweden

“It’s a fashion. Elderly people were never attracted to living close by the sea — they know how cold, how damp and windy it was. Perhaps it comes with better buildings,” she said.

Many places, from North Carolina to Australia, have struggled with sea level rises amid property developers’ fears that it could wipe billions of US dollars off values if coastal areas are redefined as flood zones.

“Up in the north where land is rising most … there won’t be any problems this century,” said Thomas Hammarklint of the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, since land rise would cancel out sea rises of up to a meter.

However, he said that Stockholm, for instance, and areas in south and western Sweden where land is rising less fast might suffer.

One drastic option would be for nations around the Baltic Sea, including Russia, Germany, Poland and the Baltic nations, to build barriers from Denmark to Sweden at the narrow mouth of the sea near Copenhagen, he said, declining to estimate costs.

“The Baltic Sea would be a lake again,” he said.

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