Australia is experiencing the most rapid sea level rise since the 1950s, according a new report.
The study, which looked at sea level change from 1950 to 2065, found Australia was already experiencing more than twice the average of sea level changes from 1900 to 2050, compared to the rest of the world.
“It’s really a major concern for Australia and we’re in an incredibly vulnerable position in terms of the quality of life,” said Professor David Shub, the lead author of the study, published today in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
“We’re losing our coastlines and we are already losing our coastal communities and the coastlines that sustain them, so it’s a big deal.”
The report found that the most dramatic sea level rises occurred in parts of the southern and eastern seaboard of Australia, which have long been heavily reliant on sea-level rise for food, industry and the economic wellbeing of coastal communities.
The researchers found that in areas of Australia where there was high sea level, such as parts of Queensland, the rate of sea-change was higher than elsewhere.
“If you look at the coastline of Australia it’s more than half of the country is in coastal flood plain areas, so the average rate of rise has increased by around four metres a year since 1900,” Professor Shub said.
“In some cases it’s been as much as 12 metres per year.”
That’s a lot of people lost to sea-levels rise, and it’s really been the worst case of all.
“The study also found that Australia’s coastal cities are particularly vulnerable, particularly when it comes to flooding.
Australia’s coastlines are at risk from increased sea level because they’re surrounded by coastal areas that are vulnerable to flooding from storm surges and tides, Professor Shug said.
The report said the Australian Government should act to limit the increase in sea levels, with measures such as installing seawalls and levelling coastal areas.”
What you really need to do is make sure you’re building and maintaining levees that can withstand these sea-rises and that are protected from the winds and tides that can cause them,” Professor Harland said.
The report recommended that coastal communities should be able to make use of levees and flood protection measures to reduce the risk of flooding.”
The way to do that is by putting a barrier on the coast and then the coast is not just an urban area,” Professor Schuster said.
Topics:environmental-impact,environment,climate-change,environment-policy,environment—other-wellington-6730,brisbane-4000,australiaFirst posted November 21, 2018 14:50:02Contact Nick MarrallMore stories from Queensland