A dam right across the North Sea

A 475-km-long dam between the north of Scotland and the west of Norway and another one of 160 km between the west point of France and the southwest of England could protect more than 25 million Europeans against the consequences of an expected sea level rise of several metres over the next few centuries. The costs, 250-500 billion euros, are 'merely' 0.1% of the gross national product, annually over 20 years, of all the countries that would be protected by such a dam. That's what Dr. Sjoerd Groeskamp, oceanographer at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, calculated together with his Swedish colleague Joakim Kjellson at GEOMAR in Kiel, Germany, published this month in the scientific journal the Bulletin of the American Meterological Society. "Besides being a possible solution, the design of such an extreme dam is mainly a warning," says Groeskamp. "It reveals the immensity of the problem hanging over our heads."