With around 85% of Australia’s population living in the coastal zone, rising sea levels and storm surges will have significant impacts on many of our coastal towns and cities: OzCoasts
This site is meant to provide a place for information on threats to sport in Australia from climate change.
The Sochi Winter Olympics have helped highlight threats to winter sports from climate change.
What we haven’t seen much discussion of, yet, is impacts of climate change on summer sports in Australia, such as cricket, and other sports that use the same fields the rest of the year.
There has been a little bit of discussion (not enough) of threats to sport from heatwaves, prompted by the effect of the January 2014 heatwaves on the Australian Open Tennis, including players experiencing heat hallucinations on court. But there has been almost no discussion of threats from sea level rise.
Australians are (largely) a coastal people; we are a sporting people, and we are a people who need to act on climate change before it overwhelms our coasts and our sports.
Global warming is warming the oceans as well as the atmosphere. Water expands as it warms. So, the seas are rising – around 200mm last century and accelerating. This isn’t something made up – it’s confirmed by satellite readings from agencies like NASA.
(Some climate change deniers deny this too, but multiple measurements confirm sea level rise is happening, and accelerating. See http://www.skepticalscience.com/sea-level-rise.htm for a discussion of common denial lines and actual evidence.)
And that’s before we even start to think about huge potential rises in sea level from melting icecaps and glaciers.
This site was prompted by seeing high tides already intruding on a ground in Sydney’s inner west (see picture at top of page). A little bit of research showed that we are looking at a much more widespread problem
- locally as well as worldwide
- already, and into our children’s lifetimes
- and a problem we need to act on, to limit its impacts and respond to the climate change that is already inevitable.
Online maps of predicted sea level rise impacts are available from OzCoasts. Maps of sea level rise for 50mm, 80 mm and 110mm sea level rise are available for
- NSW central coast and Hunter;
- Brisbane and SouthEast Queensland ;
- Adelaide and surrounding areas; and
- Perth to south of Mandurah.
As these maps show, high tides spread the impact further, even before we think about storms. For some areas not covered by OzCoasts maps, there are flood maps on line, from local councils like Gosford. And for almost anywhere, it’s possible to get basic information on height above sea level just by using Google Earth.
These maps were launched by Greg Combet as long ago as 2010. There seems to have been limited media response:
- One story in the Sydney Morning Herald pointed to widespread flooding of Sydney suburbs, including Sydney Airport
- One story in the Courier Mail pointed to implications for Brisbane Airport (and met with denial from airport management).
These stories also appear to have received surprisingly little reaction.
Perhaps that’s because back in 2010, 1.1 metres sea level rise was regarded by OzCoasts as a “high end”scenario for this century. Now, unfortunately, it’s much more in the range of mainstream, or optimistic, forecasts.
Many of the grounds that cricket and other community sports rely on are located in low lying areas along Australia’s coasts and rivers. These are often areas where housing and commercial development are already restricted because of existing flooding risks. So sports grounds will be some of the first areas in Australia showing the effects of sea level rise.
Multiple sports grounds show up blue on OzCoasts maps for 1.1 metres sea level rise (which we face this century unless greenhouse gas emissions are cut hard and fast). There are still serious impacts on some grounds, but less widespread, if we can limit sea level rise to 50cm. It’s probably already too late to do better than that. But the quicker and more effectively we act the better. The run rate is climbing and the overs are running out.
Climate change: the time for games is over
Authorised by David Mason 47 Charles St Marrickville NSW
Thanks to climate blogger http://uknowispeaksense.wordpress.com/ for checking MPs records of statements on climate science