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Flood threatens coast

UNDERWATER: Mapping by Coastal Risk Australia shows large parts of Gippsland’s coast underwater, with a modest 74cm+ rise in sea levels by 2100.

PEOPLE living along the South Gippsland coastline will face a stark choice in the coming decades: move or be washed away. Authors of the recently delivered Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) report to the State Government took “a conservative approach” to sea level rise predictions – warning of an 80cm sea level rise by 2100. Even these modest predictions see large parts of our coast underwater, with towns facing dramatic fl oods at high tide. The threat may present itself sooner than imagined too, with the VEAC predicting a 20cm sea level rise by 2040 and 47cm by 2070. Geographer and coastal geomorphologist Rob Gell (pictured) says sea level rises will continue beyond by 2100. He also believes a sinking coastline caused by gas and oil extraction and exploration – known in scientifi c circles as ‘subsidence’ – will make the region even more vulnerable to the threat.
“The accepted rate (of expected sea level rises) in Australia is in accordance with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of 80cm by 2100,” he said. “America, I think, uses 1.4m by 2100. Of course sea levels won’t stop rising at 2100.” He said today’s CO2 levels of 415 parts per million haven’t been seen since the Eemian period about 130,000 years ago, when sea levels were fi ve to six metres higher. “Low lying areas will be inundated more and more regularly. The impacts will become progressively more and more frequent, with greater inundation as the oceans warm and icecaps melt,” he said. “There’s nothing new here, as scientists have been saying so since the 1980s. No one’s listened to that for 30 years and of course no-one has acted.” Worryingly, predictive mapping on the Coastal Risk Australia website – set at a modest 74cm plus sea level rise – shows large parts of Venus Bay and Tarwin Lower inundated by century’s end. Inverloch, meanwhile, would see fl ooding of streets near Anderson Inlet and dramatic surges at Screw Creek. Waratah Bay, Sandy Point, Port Franklin and
Port Albert would all be similarly vulnerable to the future sea level rises. Ditto Philip Island. Indeed, according to the mapping, the fl ooding will affect most of Australia’s coastline. Mr Gell’s predictions are echoed in the VEAC report, which says “sea-level rise will lead to more frequent inundation of low-lying areas, loss of coastal habitat, cliff, beach and foreshore erosion”. “Climate change will also put pressure on ageing coastal infrastructure and ultimately impact on the feasibility of living in or developing some coastal locations,” it said. Increasing storm intensity, coupled with rising seas, will cause extensive erosion of the Victorian coastline by 2040, the report says. “The most extensive area vulnerable to erosion by 2040 is the Gippsland coast…and the coast between Cape Paterson and Cape Liptrap in South Gippsland.”

Short URL: https://thestar.com.au/?p=29491

Posted by on Jul 16 2019. Filed under Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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