Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

New Model Puts More Homes at Risk; Worst-Case Sea Level Scenario Gets Worse

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

New Model Puts More Homes at Risk; Worst-Case Sea Level Scenario Gets Worse

Article excerpt



NEW flood modelling has shown more Coast homes than ever before are at risk of being inundated by rising sea levels.

In just four years and two reports, the worst-case sea level rise has increased by 1.3m, from 0.74m to 2m, driven largely by rapid ice melting in Antarctica and Greenland, although a 2m sea level rise remains a less than 2% chance of happening by 2100.

The results of both the 2013 and 2017 worst-case scenarios have been laid out side-by-side by flood mapping consultants for Coastal Risk Australia and the result shows a swathe of local homes once thought safe now in line to become waterfront homes.

The Sunshine Coast Airport, high and dry in 2013 mapping based on International Panel of Climate Change data, is also underwater in 2100, in new mapping based on a 2017 US Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report.

The airport is being redeveloped, with 1.1 million cubic metres of fill to be used on the new runway construction, which is being built to withstand a one-in-100-year flood combined with a 2100 sea level rise scenario of 0.8m.

A number of homes along the coastal strip previously untouched have also been flagged as being inundated, although the updated worst case is expected to only be a 2% chance of happening.

University of New South Wales' Climate Change Research Centre Professor John Church added these were "early results" for unmitigated greenhouse gas emissions.

"With unmitigated emissions, the only question is when we get there (worst case)," he said.

He said recent research done after the 2013 report had documented how rapidly the Antarctic ice was melting, prompting the worst-case revisions.

NGIS Australia principal consultant Nathan Eaton was part of the team that developed the latest Coastal Risk Australia mapping released today.

He said as a result of the rapid ice sheet melts, the previous worst-case of a 0.74m rise in sea levels was now looking likely to occur as a matter of course, based on the current rate of greenhouse gas emissions.

But he said there was a less than 2% chance of the new, 2m worst-case scenario being realised. …

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