Segments in this Video

Introduction: London (01:46)


Resident Robert Clarke describes sewage runoff and water damage from 2016's intense rainfall. See footage of flooding and resulting destruction.

Threats and Complications (03:55)

Clarke expresses concern for future events and shows safeguards installed at his business. Flash flooding has become common in London; Ivan Haigh describes the city's deadly flood history. The River Thames is part of a network flowing through southeastern England; the North Sea funnels up an estuary making London a direct target for surges.

Responding to History (06:32)

In 1928, high river flow and storm surge flooded London. Ray Howard describes a destructive 1953 deluge that inspired defensive measures. The Thames Barrier is a floodgate that has been used effectively 182 times; Andy Batchelor and Makana discuss risk management and design structure.

Versatile Protection (07:55)

The Thames Barrier was designed to accommodate high water levels; southeast England has been steadily sinking for years. In 2013, Cyclone Phailin tested the capabilities of the defense system. Tina Kirby recalls attempting to adaptat to wet conditions.

Infrastructure Solutions (05:19)

Architect Richard Coutts discusses the need for above ground infrastructure. Sewers are over one hundred years old and built for smaller populations. Unprecedented rainfall in 2013 and 2014 spurred improvements in storm prediction; Prof. Adam Scaife explains basic climate science. Long-term forecasting is complicated by warming from escalating atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Strained Defenses (02:55)

The Thames Barrier was not designed for constant use. Oceanographer Ivan Haigh predicts an eight foot sea level rise by 2100; the protective structure will soon require upgrade or replacement.

Solutions for Rising Sea Levels (06:11)

Brian Vinall describes his role at the Flood Forecasting Center. The Thames Tideway Tunnel will channel floodwaters and sewage below river to treatment facilities; Robert Sainsbury discusses managing London's aging systems and public health risks posed by outdated fail safes. Sea walls are improved to lengthen Thames Barrier functionality, but another must be built.

Sustainable Drainage Systems (05:50)

Haigh collects oceanic data; he must determine causes for fluctuating sea level rise. Landscape architect Kevin Barton describes the need for SuDS Schemes. Flood Risk manager Jessica Bastock explains paving and runoff solutions that allow for ground absorption.

Lost Rivers (06:27)

David Harding discusses a river network buried in response to hazardously polluted waters. He compares old maps to new datas; eleven miles of water courses have been daylighted. Ian Russell explains using earth buns and channels to restore ecosystems and reduce flow into the Thames.

Daylighting Water Courses (07:05)

Richard Coutts discusses climate change, increased flows, and continuing urbanization; he suggests building floating communities. The Good Hotel is situated on a buoyant base. The Thames Barrier can no longer be London's only defense; engineers and scientists continue designing solutions.

Credits: London (00:30)

Credits: London

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Episode 3: London (Sinking Cities)

Part of the Series : Sinking Cities
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



For decades, London trusted that its sophisticated Thames Barrier would keep it safe from water. But as sea levels rise and rainfall increases, London’s sleeping giant is no longer enough to keep the city safe.

Length: 55 minutes

Item#: BVL169089

Copyright date: ©2018

Closed Captioned

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