Maps Predict Future City Flooding

Rising sea levels are likely to cause serious and regular flooding in Australian coastal cities by the end of the century, according to maps released by the Federal Government today.

The maps for low-lying areas in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Newcastle, the New South Wales’ central coast and south-east Queensland show significant levels of inundation by the year 2100.

The maps show three different scenarios, with the lowest rise of 50 centimetres representing a situation which is likely to be unavoidable.

The medium level map shows a rise of 80cm and the highest level of 1.1 metres shows the flooding risk identified in the most recent climate change research.

The Government says the flooding shown in the maps is likely to occur at least once a year.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet says the maps will help communities prepare for the effects of climate change.

“The Government recognises that coastal areas of Australia are a priority for adaptation action, with many communities vulnerable to impacts such as erosion and sea inundation,” Mr Combet said.

“Developed in partnership with the Co-operative Research Centre for Spatial Information, these maps are an important product for the community to understand potential risks to infrastructure and properties and to prepare for the climate change impacts of sea level rises.”

Mr Combet says the maps show rising sea levels may affect existing infrastructure.

“We need to face the challenge of starting to prepare for impacts to existing developments, where past decision-making did not address climate change impacts and where areas may be vulnerable to inundation as the sea level rises,” he said.

“Early engagement with communities in these areas will be critical to the development of workable adaptation solutions for local areas, so they are able to avoid risk.

“Where this is not possible, this engagement will help ensure they are as prepared as possible to cope with climate change impacts as they arise.”

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