Monday, May 02, 2022

Climate Change: Here comes the flood

For decades now we've known that climate change will cause sea-level rise. In Aotearoa, the projections so far have been for 30cm by 2050, and 1m by 2100 - a level which is catastrophic to low-lying areas and coastal infrastructure and which is going to cost us billions of dollars to move or replace everything (and likely billions more in pointless attempts to protect it). But its going to be worse than that, because when the underlying geology is factored in, sea-level is actually rising at twice that rate in large parts of New Zealand:

New climate change research has pinpointed the places in New Zealand where sea level rise will greatly outpace the global prediction of 30cm by 2060 which is based on achieving the Paris climate agreement.

For parts of our two biggest cities, Auckland and Wellington, 30cm of sea level rise isn't 40-50 years away, but just 10-20. By 2060 it’s approaching a metre in some places.

That is because New Zealand sits on two tectonic plates and for many parts of the country 30cm is coming in only 10 to 20 years.

By 2060, it's approaching a metre and that will cause dramatic inundation, untold damage and ultimately force people to abandon their homes and businesses and retreat from the coast.

There's a map which will show this on a local level, but its down due to high traffic. But if you're in Wellington, you can get an idea from GWRC's sea-level rise map, and just mentally relabel "2100" to "2060" (you can look at Christchurch here).

Which ought to focus the mind a little. We thought we had time to adapt to this by a gradual shift, and government policy is predicated on that. But it turns out that we don't. The flood is coming. If you don't want to get washed away, you need to move.