Sarah Boulter writes in The Conversation (30.8.16) about the threats to coastal communities posed by climate change and rising sea levels. The author points out how local councils in many of these communities are adapting to those threats, and highlights researcher-developed tools that help councils to do so.
‘The wild storms that lashed eastern Australia earlier this year damaged property and eroded beaches, causing millions of dollars’ worth of damage. As sea levels rise, the impact of storms will threaten more and more homes, businesses and services along the coastline.
‘CSIRO projections suggest that seas may rise by as much 82cm by the end of the century. When added to high tides, and with the influence of winds and associated storms, this can mean inundation by waters as high as a couple of metres.
‘As a community, we have to start deciding what must be protected, and how and when; where we will let nature take its course; how and if we need to modify the way we live and work near the coast; and so on. Many of these decisions fall largely to local governments.
‘We have launched a website to help local councils and Australians prepare for a climate change future. CoastAdapt lets you find maps of your local area under future sea-level scenarios, read case studies, and make adaptation plans.’