Climate change

Carbon dioxide emissions are changing our climate. NCP members have been working together to understand what these changes mean for the coast.

Looking ahead, in this century, floods, droughts, storms and heat waves will become more frequent and weather hotter. Summer temperatures in East Anglia will rise by up to 5°C and be more variable. There will be less rain overall – although winter rainfall will increase by up to 30%, summer rainfall will halve. Sea levels will continue to rise and the sea get warmer.

This means big changes for marine habitats and therefore the local fishing industry and offshore developments. Tourism will be affected – for instance, higher temperatures combined with higher nutrient levels may increase harmful algal blooms causing beaches to be closed and shellfish to accumulate toxins.

Sea level rise will lead to flooding and loss of habitats, farmland, homes, businesses, heritage and infrastructure. There could be many more visitors due to the warmer climate. Storms will impact on tourism infrastructure like beaches and the coast road – as well as on amenities for year-round communities. Farmers will need to change crops as they face new diseases, soil loss, and water scarcity.

Locally, working towards adaptation aims to help the communities and wildlife of the Norfolk Coast survive in some form. The global scale of the problem is such that governments need to take urgent action. There is a chance to slow the warming, but only if wide-scale changes are made to generate less carbon.

The Norfolk Coast AONB Climate Change Adaptation Strategy is available at norfolkcoastaonb.org.uk