In the spring we're setting sail on a voyage to explore solutions to Rising Seas.
Since pre-history, tides have been hundreds of metres higher, and lower, than they are today; the rise and fall of the sea is a natural process. But the challenge we are facing now is that tides are rising at an unprecedented rate - and we're not prepared for it. To thrive, we need to adapt; we must find a new way of living by the sea, and that's the motivation of our voyage.
What makes the sea rise?
Twice a day, the sea rises and falls with the tides; these are made by huge waves flowing along the coast, with high tide at the peaks and low tide at the troughs. The height of high tide depends on the moon phase; it is highest just after the New and Full Moon phases, a time called 'Springs', when the gravitational forces of the sun and moon are working together to create 'steeper' tide waves.
Atmospheric pressure has a huge impact on the sea, with low pressure creating higher tides; the sea will rise by 1cm for every 1mb drop and in exceptional circumstances this can result in a 3 metre rise during the storm. Furthermore, an onshore wind will blow water further up the shore and generate waves that surge over sea defences.
3) Melting Ice
As the atmosphere heats as a result of global warming, polar ice caps and glaciers are melting, pouring water into the sea. In the last ice age, our oceans were much lower because so much water was stored in ice, but the opposite is happening now.
4) Warming Waters
Another effect of global warming is that our seas are heating up. When water warms, it expands and takes up more space; there is only one way for it to go - up.
5) Sinking Land
We like to think of the land being 'terra firma', but it's in constant motion, floating on a liquid core. During the last ice age a heavy ice sheet was covering Northern Britain, weighing it down - but when it melted, the land started to rise, creating a see-saw effect with the south sinking, with the effect of seas rising.
The good news is that there are people pioneering solutions to these challenges, and we are going to share their work.
Whether it's harnessing the ocean's energy to generate clean electricity or inventing smart sea defences that hold back the flood tide, our plan is to sail to the projects making a difference and connect these systems into an integrated solution to living with Rising Seas.