Magazine article Ecos

Sea Levels Are Rising While Storms Intensify

Magazine article Ecos

Sea Levels Are Rising While Storms Intensify

Article excerpt

A study has confirmed that, under enhanced greenhouse conditions, the sea level in the Australian region is rising at rates that will have a significant impact over decades to come. Higher seas and changes to cyclone intensity are likely to pose a considerable increase in risk to coastal property and infrastructure.

Speaking at the March Coast to Coast 04 conference in Hobart, Dr John Church, of CSIRO and the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC, said an analysis for Cairns showed the north Queensland city would be subject to impacts such as storm surges and severe wave conditions.

'The perception is that the main impact is going to be flooding through a combination of longer term sea-level rise and high tides,' Dr Church said.

'Our analysis is that infrastructure and resource managers in coastal communities need to also factor in a third component likely under global warming--more intense storms.'

Dr Church, who was a lead author on sea-level rise for the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released in 2000, conducted this latest research with Dr John Hunter, Dr Kathleen McInnes and Dr Neil White, scientists at CSIRO and the Hobart-based Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre.

In their study of impacts on Australian coastal communities from climate change, the researchers analysed Australian sea-level records for the period 1920 to 2000.

They drew their basic data from records obtained from tide gauges at Fremantle, Sydney and other locations. …

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