The study shows that a temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius, which is consistent with the Paris Agreement, will eventually lead to hundreds of coastal airports going below mean sea level and hundreds more at risk of severe flooding.
A study by scientists at Newcastle University shows that hundreds of airports are at risk of severe flooding with rising sea levels, triggered by global warming.
The study called, Global analysis of sea level rise risk to airports, was conducted by Newcastle University's Professor Richard Dawson and Aaron Yesudian of the university’s School of Engineering.
The two had spent time analysing over 14,000 airports around the world.
The research study included looking at storm surges for sea levels, pre-Covid-19 activity at airports, air traffic, and airport flood protection.
The study showed that a temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius, which is consistent with the Paris Climate Agreement, will eventually lead to hundreds of coastal airports going below mean sea level and puts hundreds more at risk of severe flooding.
It also took into consideration the possibility of global temperatures rising higher than 2 degree Celsius.
It said there will be catastrophic disruptions which will put hundreds of airports under sea level, if this happens.
“These coastal airports are disproportionately important to the global airline network, and by 2100 between 10 and 20% of all routes will be at risk of disruption. Sea level rise therefore poses a serious risk to global passenger and freight movements, with considerable cost of damage and disruption,” Dawson said.
The research team said coastal airports need to increase their flood protection, raise the land it's located on or should even consider relocating all together.
The team created a global list of airports at highest risk with those in East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific dominating.
Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport topped the list.
Airports in Europe, North America and Oceania made up the rest of the list.
“Some airports, for example in low-lying islands, play critical roles in providing economic, social and medical lifelines,” Dawson said.