Bankstown sports: Grounds for climate change concern?

Global warming is making the oceans warmer. Warm water expands, and so the seas are rising – around 200 mm last century and the pace is accelerating.

OzCoasts provides online maps that show predicted areas of inundation from  impacts of sea level rise, along the coasts for areas in Sydney and the NSW Central Coast, as well as Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and South-East Queensland.

Unfortunately, though, there aren’t maps available yet for some other parts of Australia’s coastlines. And there aren’t maps available for areas which aren’t strictly on the coast, but could be affected by even modest sea level rises just the same – in particular, areas along tidal rivers.

This includes the Georges River. Locals will know that the Georges River is tidal up as far as Liverpool. So at high tide, sea levels reach very directly into the area.

Cricket and other sports in the Bankstown area use several grounds  which could be grounds for concern.

  • Vale of Ah reserve, Milperra is immediately next to the Georges River. Google Earth shows the 3 pitches as 5-6 metres above current sea level. (We keep having to remind ourselves, average sea level isn’t near enough to a fixed measurement any more within a human lifetime. Sadly, that’s the point.) The river is above sea level and is definitely tidal this far up and beyond.

It’s not clear how much room there is to spare for any increases in high tides with sea level rise. Google Earth isn’t precise enough to rely on. But Bankstown City Council already has the grounds within the area marked as “high risk” within its Georges River Flood Risk map. Sea level rise would be expected to increase frequency and severity of this risk.

  • Gordon Parker reserve in Milperra similarly is next to the tidal Georges River, shows as 5 metres above current average sea level on Google Earth, and is within the area already marked as high riverine flooding risk on Bankstown City Council’s maps.
  • Kelso Park, Panania shows on Google Earth as from under 3 metres to 5 metres above current average sea level. It’s next to the tidal Georges River too, and Kelso Creek which has tides of nearly 3 metres. Some of the park appears to be within the area already marked as high riverine flooding risk on Bankstown City Council’s maps; some of it within the area already marked as medium risk. What do the locals and other experts say? Comments please.
  • Marco Park, Panania similarly shows on Google Earth as from under 3 metres to 5 metres above current average sea level. The park is on Kelso Creek which has tides of nearly 3 metres. Two of the 3 grounds on the park appears to be within the area already marked as high riverine flooding risk on Bankstown City Council’s maps; some of it within the area already marked as medium risk. Sea level rise would be expected to increase frequency and severity of this risk.
  • Parts of Riverwood golf course are not much above the adjoining river

Federal Liberal member for Hughes Craig Kelly is a determined climate science denier, and a believer in crackpot theories about health effects from wind farms. So we can’t expect much help from him. But what do people with actual local expertise and experience say? Comments please.

Climate change: the time for games is over

Authorised by David Mason, 47 Charles St Marrickville NSW

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