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Paddy fields in Parliament Square?

By Matthew Knight for CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • New exhibition imagines how London will look in a future affected by climate change
  • Fourteen images depict familiar London "postcard" scenes re-purposed
  • Gherkin building imagined as a slum; Hyde Park turned into palm oil plantation
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London, England (CNN) -- The River Thames has frozen over, the land around the Houses of Parliament has been re-purposed as a paddy field and the constant din of traffic around Piccadilly Circus has been replaced by the whirring of turbine blades.

Well that, at least, is how a new exhibition at the Museum of London in east London depicts the future of the UK's capital in a world transformed by climate change.

The photomontages form the centerpiece of the museum's "London Futures" exhibition and examine how London and Londoners might adapt to sea-level rise, food scarcity and energy security in the years ahead.

Fourteen images have been created by illustrators Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones from GMJ, London-based digital illustration company.

"We want to create a space in which people can consider how climate change may affect their lives," Didier Madoc-Jones said in a statement.

These "postcards from the future," as their creators call them, are reminders of the everyone's need to innovate and adapt as the predicted effects of global warming take root.

While an image of palm oil plantations in Hyde Park included in the exhibition might seem a little fanciful, there are other ideas and predictions which are likely to resonate with Londoners.

Using turbines in the River Thames -- a tidal river -- to generate electricity would follow the example of places like New York where turbines have been successfully installed in the East River.

And residents of northwest London don't need a photomontage of a tornado whipping through Trafalgar Square to be reminded of the devastation tornadoes can wreak. They experienced one firsthand in 2006.

Graves and Madoc-Jones also imagine shanty towns surrounding Buckingham Palace, while Norman Foster's Gherkin building has long since been abandoned by sharp-suited bankers and turned into an overpopulated, high-rise slum.

The exhibition runs from October until March 2011.