SOUTHAMPTON, England, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Rail networks in the United Kingdom face serious threats from climate change and its effects, researchers say.
Scientists from the University of Southampton and Network Rail say extreme weather events, projected to become more common over the next 50 years as a result of global warming, could lead to more landslides and floods, the BBC reported Friday.
Damage from such events could cause "widespread disruption" to travel, the researchers say.
Scientists studying the number of landslides and floods that resulted in delays of more than eight hours found the frequency of these major incidents was far higher during the wet winter of 2000-2001 when rail passengers experienced widespread travel disruption.
With predictions that such wet winters will become more common in the future, fears are growing that climate change could result in "travel chaos."
"This is a really serious issue which needs to be addressed," lead author Fleur Loveridge, a Ph.D. student at the University of Southampton, said.
"Climate change in the near future is 'locked in' -- it's too late to change that," she said.