Run to the hills: A scary new university climate change ranking

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Inspired by an original idea and initial outline by @plashingvole here is your climate change league table. It’s a ranking of selected UK universities by their height above sea level. What this tells us is that many institutions are sitting pretty on high ground and will remain standing proud as rising sea levels begin to take their toll.

There are others though, and I’m sure we would we all be keen to see their risk registers, which are looking in a rather precarious position as the waves start to roll in.

So, where are the driest universities of the future?

RankInstitutionMetres above sea level
1Keele 186
2Bath 183
3Birmingham 140
4Edinburgh 93
5Exeter 92
6Brighton 90
7Warwick 86
8=Leeds 82
8=Durham 82
10Bristol 77
11Surrey 66
12=Oxford 63
12=Lancaster 63
14Loughborough 50
15Nottingham 45
16Glasgow 38
17St Andrews 24
18=LSE 21
20Cumbria  20
21York 15
22Swansea 13
23=Imperial College 12
23=Cambridge  12
25Southampton Solent 8.69
26Portsmouth 6.71
27Suffolk 4.32

Meanwhile, in a nascent international ranking there are several universities which really do operate in a highly rarefied atmosphere:

La Paz University 3,857m
Tibet University, Lhasa 3,658m
Addis Ababa Institute of Technology 2,473m

No danger of getting wet feet there.

However, there are two universities in the Netherlands which are in a much riskier position:

The University of Amsterdam is only 78cm above sea level. Scary.

And, in an even more precarious situation, we have Delft University which is, in fact, 48cm *below* sea level. There are a number of other areas around the world below sea level, from the Cambridgeshire Fens to Baku, and some Pacific and Indian Ocean islands which are very close to going below the waterline but I’ve yet to find any universities others than Delft which are actually below sea level.

Some food for thought for future job applications or institutional partnerships there.

Thanks again to @plashingvole for the prompt.

17 thoughts on “Run to the hills: A scary new university climate change ranking”

  1. Tony Tysome says:

    Surely there’s a glaring omission here: the University of Derby’s Buxton campus should top this table, being some 316m above sea level:

  2. Given that our normal reference for the other university in Oxford was always ‘down the hill’ I think Oxford Brookes has been robbed here…

  3. Paul Greatrix says:

    I’ll refer that one to the Appeals Committee

  4. Paul Greatrix says:

    Profound apologies to @PlashingVole for the appalling omission of what would have been the 3rd placed institution, the University of Wolverhampton at 153m above sea level.

  5. Chris Husbands says:

    I came up to the sixth floor when I got to work this morning. No allowance for that.

  6. Mark Leach says:

    The perils of ranking.

  7. Michel van Baal says:

    I am from Delft and really love to be ‘lowest’. However, sadly it isn’t correct. Erasmus university in Rotterdam beats us on this, they are -1.2 m below sealevel 😉

  8. Paul Greatrix says:

    Lovely spirit of fair play there from Delft! Will refer this one to the judges for further consideration.

  9. Sophie Bowen says:

    Paul, another top ten university to include – Middlesex at 85m….. (Hendon)

  10. Stephen Rowlstone says:

    Hi, Kent is around 70m above sea level

  11. David Radcliffe says:

    “I really must question the validity and methodology of this league table…”
    “You’re in the top 5”
    “Oh, well I never doubted it for a moment. When will it be incorporated into the TEF metrics and THE world rankings?”

  12. Jon Fox says:

    I look forward to the new ‘sail to work’ scheme and the assessment of LSRs (lifeguard-student ratios)

  13. johnnysrich says:

    The one I feel really sorry for is the Cambourne School of Mines.

  14. Gwen van der Velden says:

    Hmm, being a low-lander originally I moved from near-the-sea-Kent to on-the-hill-Bath until it dawned on me that a place with that name might still mean wet feet. Went to Warwick thinking ‘it’s about as far from any sea side as I can get’…. and now you tell me I’ve moved closer to sea level again!

  15. Paula Sanderson says:

    Just ensure no-one attempts to convert this to a percentage global position or we’ll all be in trouble.

  16. sgeller2012 says:

    Here at the University of Sheffield, where I am in the computing dept. is 100 metres above sea level, while Firth Court is 123m and our business school is 160m . So I think we’re pretty safe.

  17. Colin Sparrow says:

    What is that in feet?

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