When will the big storms start?
The big storms are coming and Australia’s capital city has been left exposed to them for the foreseeable future.
A new report from the Climate Institute shows how the capital’s storm-prone coastline is already vulnerable to rising seas, extreme weather events and extreme droughts.
“If we can get into the climate that’s in the middle, we should be in a position where we’re able to respond to these events,” says Professor Stephen O’Sullivan from the University of New South Wales.
In the meantime, the capital has already seen a rise in water levels, and has experienced several of the biggest storms to hit the city since records began in 1880. “
We’ve been in a climate where, because of the amount of greenhouse gas emissions we’ve put in, we’re getting a bit of a warming effect that is actually more pronounced in the south than in the north.”
In the meantime, the capital has already seen a rise in water levels, and has experienced several of the biggest storms to hit the city since records began in 1880.
“The sea levels are really going to rise, and they’re going to be at record levels in the next couple of years,” Professor O’ Sullivan says.
“There’s going to a lot of changes in the water table, particularly around the eastern coast, and you’ve got this very large amount of sea level rise in the bay area.”
The report finds the city’s south shore will be hit by up to 20 metres of water by 2100, while the north shore will see a rise of up to 70 metres.
And the report shows the capital will see about half of the city and the port’s water levels increase by about 50 per cent by 2100.
That will cause the harbour to be significantly more susceptible to flooding, and the sea levels to rise by more than 1.5 metres.
“So it’s going from the coast to the city centre,” Professor Dyson says.
The report also shows the impact of sea-level rise will impact the CBD.
The water level of the CBD will rise about 20 metres by 2100 as the city expands, as well as a 50-metre rise in CBD areas.
“It’s going into the city from the west and then it’s all down the east coast,” Professor Rennie says.
In the worst-case scenario, sea level will rise more than 40 metres by the end of the century, with the CBD in the region seeing an increase of about 70 metres in areas like the Riverdale and North Shore.
“That’s not good enough for people to be living in the CBD anymore,” he says.
Meanwhile, in the city of Wollongong, a report from The Climate Institute found that a 30-year study showed water levels in some parts of the region could be 20 to 40 metres higher by the mid-2030s.
The impact on the city is expected to be more dramatic, as water levels will increase about 300 metres from the Wollons and 400 metres from Wollantrai.
“I think we’re going into a situation where you’ve actually got this huge amount of water in the harbour, and it’s really important for the city to be able to adapt and be able provide services and infrastructure to accommodate that,” Professor John Rennick says.