The Climate Issues Putting Edinburgh at Risk

How climate change is impacting the city

By CyArk

How is Edinburgh Castle threatened by climate change?

Edinburgh Castle black and whiteCyArk

Climate change is a significant threat to communities, natural sites and historic buildings. Many of our unique cultural heritage assets are already being threatened as a result of sea level rise, coastal erosion, storm surges, regular flooding, and extreme weather events. 

Edinburgh Castle from Calton HillCyArk

Rising sea levels

Sea level rise in the 21st Century is likely to exceed rates observed between 1971 and 2010 and an increase in average global surface temperatures is most likely to increase the amount and severity of rainfall, especially in high latitude areas.

Through a window in Edinburgh (2019-04) by CyArkCyArk

Increased rainfall

The biggest climate related pressure is extreme weather and increased rainfall. According to the Climate Change Committee (CCC) report on Scotland in 2016, annual rainfall has increased by 13% since 1970.

Edinburgh infographic increased rainfallCyArk

Rising Ground Water

Edinburgh infographic rising ground waterCyArk

Landslides and flooding

The erosion of the volcanic rock below Edinburgh Castle also poses a safety risk to pedestrians, vehicles, and tourists.

Edinburgh infographic cliff erosionCyArk

Increased tourism

Increased tourism is a risk to all heritage sites and the management of numbers of people passing through the historic buildings and parks and pedestrian routes will have an impact on the historic fabric of the area. The demand for increased tourism facilities is having a negative impact in Edinburgh resulting in an increase in the amount of waste being produced at the World Heritage Site.

Entrance to Edinburgh Castle (2019-04) by CyArkCyArk

Increasing levels of precipitation

Increasing levels of precipitation will also have a negative effect on the stone masonry of Edinburgh. Most buildings are made from porous sandstones and increased wetting and drying increased the decay of these stones.

Edinburgh Castle From a Distance (2019-04) by CyArkCyArk

Discover more

Discover how CyArk uses 3D documentation to empower local experts.

Find out more about ICOMOS' efforts to increase engagement of cultural heritage in climate action here.

Credits: Story

Peter A Cox, ICOMOS, Managing Director, Carrig Conservation International Limited, and President, ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Energy, Sustainability and Climate Change.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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