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Climate Change

Volume 481: debated on Thursday 23 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether his Department has re-assessed any of its UK flood mapping timelines in view of the accelerated rate of Arctic summer ice melt of 2007-08 and its significance for the melting of the Greenland ice cap. (225101)

I have been asked to reply.

Recent research findings from the Met Office and the Environment Agency for the Thames Estuary 2100 project indicate that higher ranges for sea level rise are broadly in line with DEFRA's October 2006 published guidance to operating authorities.

DECC is expecting a new set of climate change scenarios from the UK Climate Impacts Partnership (UKCIP) in spring 2009, which will give a better understanding of the uncertainties associated with future sea level rise. DECC will be working closely with UKCIP and other delivery bodies to understand the risks and review policy guidance.

UK research is aimed at improving the representations of ice sheets in climate models and understanding future changes in ice sheet volume and sea level. Early indications suggest that changes in ice sheet volumes could bring a significant contribution to sea level rise. However, further research is needed to shed more light on the risks. DEFRA and DECC will continue to work closely with our science networks to better understand these risks.