Saturday, April 25, 2009

Beautiful one year, flooded the next

Marian Wilkinson in the Bombala Times (Australia): The top government scientist advising on how to adapt the nation to climate change warns that Australia will be forced to abandon some coastal communities in a "planned retreat" because of rising sea levels caused by global warming.

Andrew Ash, who leads the CSIRO's Climate Adaptation Flagship program, told the Herald that while some vulnerable coastal places could be protected by sea walls and levees, "there are going to be areas where that is not physically possible or it's not cost-effective to introduce any engineering solution and planned retreat becomes the only option".

Warning that climate change was accelerating much more quickly than predicted, Dr Ash said state and local governments needed urgently to identify coastal land unsuitable for new residential development because rising sea levels and more frequent big storms would flood them with seawater.

Federal and state governments would also need to rule out putting costly new infrastructure such as airport runways and bridges in vulnerable low-lying coastal areas. "They need to be thinking now about what areas are vulnerable and what areas are likely to be unsuitable in the longer term for new residential developments because local governments are concerned about future liabilities," Dr Ash said.

Scientists at Sydney University have previously identified vulnerable areas in NSW, including Narrabeen, Dee Why and Curl Curl on Sydney's northern beaches. Batemans Bay to the south and parts of Byron Bay in the north are also seen as particularly vulnerable….

This mid bay barrier in Narrabeen, a suburb of Sydney (Australia), has blocked what used to be a bay to form a lagoon. Shot by Stephen Codrington, Wikimedia Commons, under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License

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