Rising seas may put $300b of property at risk: scientists‏

13 January, 2013 Climate chaos, Uncategorized0

Rising seas may put $300b of property at risk: scientists‏

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To Andrew Glikson, John James
Rising seas may put $300b of property at risk: scientists

Updated 20 minutes ago
Map: Australia

How is climate change expected to impact on different parts of Australia? This is the first of a five-part series in which environment reporter Sarah Clarke sets out to provide answers.
Video: Animation reveals predicted sea level rises(ABC News)

Climate scientists are urging Australian authorities – and residents – to prepare for rising sea levels that could put about $300 billion worth of commercial property, infrastructure and homes at risk.
The United Nations’ chief science body will meet in Hobart tomorrow for the latest round of talks before the release of its fifth major climate paper in September.
More than three-quarters of Australians live near the ocean, and Alan Stokes from the National Sea Change Taskforce says sea-level rises will challenge many Australians’ beachfront lifestyles.
View sea-level rise maps

The Federal Government has developed a series of initial sea-level rise maps to show climate change’s potential impact in key urban areas.

You can explore maps for the following regions:

Sydney, NSW
South-east Queensland
Newcastle and central coast, NSW
Melbourne, Vic
Adelaide, SA
Perth-Mandurah, WA

“We like to live as close to it [as we can], we like to spend our holidays there and we like to spend Christmas holidays there – as we are at the moment,” he said.
Mr Stokes also lives near the water in a harbour-side, Sydney suburb, but he has concerns about the future of that kind of coastal living.
“If the climate science is right – and that’s that we can expect a sea-level rise of somewhere between 80 centimetres and 1.1 metres by the year 2100 – that lifestyle is under threat,” he said.
“Also under threat are the properties that are going to be developed in vulnerable areas along the coast which are being approved at the moment in states all around Australia.”
Rising sea levels are a direct result of melting glaciers, and according to some of the most recent peer-reviewed reports, the melt is accelerating.

Are you worried rising sea levels will affect your property – leave your comments here.

John Church is from the CSIRO’s atmospheric research section and a lead author on sea-level rise for the UN’s chief science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
“The Greenland ice sheet is increasing its surface melt … if we are to avoid some of the extreme scenarios, to avoid the complete melting of the Greenland ice sheet, it’s urgent that we start mitigating or reducing emissions significantly and in a sustained way into the future,” Dr Church said.
Video: Alan Stokes says rising sea levels are a serious risk for coastal communities.(ABC News)

Australia’s Climate Commission has done modelling on a rise above one metre, which it says could be devastating for all Australian coastal cities, as well as the 6 million people outside the main population centres.
For example, in Sydney it forecasts that runways at the main domestic airport could be inundated and terminals flooded.
In Brisbane, homes in inner-city suburbs such as Windsor and Albion may go under water.
It is the same for other cities like Melbourne and Adelaide.
Mr Stokes says that while some residents are not fussed by the new potential waterfront living, others are trying to sell.
“I’ve heard people wanting to sell up and trying to sell up … finding that the market suddenly isn’t working with them, that the values of the property have dropped,” he said.
Around the country up to 250,000 properties could be potentially exposed to inundation with a sea-level rise above one metre. The price tag on that is up to $63 billion.
The Gold Coast is a key example of a major city centre that typifies oceanfront living. It has plans in place to guard against a 27-centimetre sea-level rise but councillor Lex Bell says the council is yet to go any higher.
“We’re sitting back and monitoring the situation but we’re not panicking,” he said.
As it stands, there is no national benchmark on a minimum sea-level rise that states must take into account.
This is the first in a five-part series by Sarah Clarke on climate impacts. Still to come:

Part 2: What effect will climate change have on agriculture and food production? (Coming Tuesday)
Part 3: What effect will climate change have on health in the Pacific? (Coming Wednesday)
Part 4: How will climate change affect biodiversity and ecosystems? (Coming Thursday)
Part 5: How will climate change affect Australia’s oceans and reefs? (Coming Friday)

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