MULTIPLE areas of Dorset could be permanently underwater in 30 years according to a climate change study.

The study has been conducted by Climate Central, an independent organisation of leading scientists and journalists who research climate change and its impact on the public.

The organisation has developed an interactive map, which can be found through this link, using current projections to show which areas could be lost to rising sea levels by 2050. It should be noted that these are only projections.

The map shows that parts of Weymouth, Portland, Bridport, Lyme Regis, Wareham, Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch could be underwater in nearly 30 years time. A majority of Dorset appears to be safe from rising sea levels.

Swanage and Wareham Voice: How Dorset and surrounding areas appear on the map. Picture: Climate CentralHow Dorset and surrounding areas appear on the map. Picture: Climate Central

Looking at the Weymouth and Portland area, areas of Melcombe Regis, Westham and Weymouth town centre, could be underwater by 2050.

Key attractions and sites in the town, such as Weymouth Pavilion, Sea Life, RSPB Lodmoor, Weymouth train station and Haven Littlesea holiday park, could also be affected.

Current projections show that the Portland Beach Road, which links Portland to Weymouth, could be underwater as well as some parts of the Portland coast and Chesil Beach.

The map also shows that West Bay and numerous areas of Bridport around the River Brit could be underwater. These areas include Morrisons, parts of A35, B3162, South Road and West Bay Road, and some residential areas in Allington and Coneyar.

Swanage and Wareham Voice: How Weymouth and Portland area looks on the map. Picture: Climate CentralHow Weymouth and Portland area looks on the map. Picture: Climate Central

Elsewhere in West Dorset, areas of Burton Bradstock round the River Bride could be underwater, as well as Seatown, a section of Charmouth and its beach, and Chippel Bay in Lyme Regis.

Towards East Dorset, villages outside of Wareham could be affected, as well as Lytchett Minster and Studland.

Coastal areas of Poole could also be underwater by 2050 due to rising water levels and even the luxury Sandbanks suburb could be affected. Other areas include Hamworthy, Upton, Whitecliff and Lilliput.

Elsewhere in East Dorset, Christchurch could be also largely affected by rising water levels.

Climate Central admits the calculations that have led to fears of a nightmare scenario include "some error".

Swanage and Wareham Voice: How Bridport and West Bay area looks on the map. Picture: Climate CentralHow Bridport and West Bay area looks on the map. Picture: Climate Central

It says: "These maps incorporate big datasets, which always include some error. These maps should be regarded as screening tools to identify places that may require deeper investigation of risk."

The maps have been based on "global-scale datasets for elevation, tides and coastal flood likelihoods" and "imperfect data is used".

Somewhat comfortingly, Climate Central adds: "Our approach makes it easy to map any scenario quickly and reflects threats from permanent future sea-level rise well.

"However, the accuracy of these maps drops when assessing risks from extreme flood events.

Swanage and Wareham Voice: How East Dorset area looks on the map. Picture: Climate CentralHow East Dorset area looks on the map. Picture: Climate Central

"Our maps are not based on physical storm and flood simulations and do not take into account factors such as erosion, future changes in the frequency or intensity of storms, inland flooding, or contributions from rainfall or rivers."

But it adds: "Improved elevation data indicate far greater global threats from sea level rise and coastal flooding than previously thought, and thus greater benefits from reducing their causes."