Northern Territory sport and climate change

Northern Territory cricket already takes our current climate into account, by playing in the summer season down in Alice Springs, but the winter season in the Top End.

What will global warming do for how playable the summer is for cricket in Central Australia?

The Climate Council has done important work in highlighting how climate change will make heatwaves more frequent and more severe in Australia.  They point out that Adelaide, Melbourne and Canberra hot weather has already reached levels predicted for 2030.

One thing we haven’t seen much comment on, is what effect another one of the effects of climate change could have on cricket: rising sea levels.

Global warming is warming the oceans and water expands as it heats. So, sea levels are rising. Around 200mm last century and accelerating.

In common with local government around Australia, a number of Northern Territory councils have been doing climate change risk assessments for things like increased flooding risks.

OzCoasts has published maps for impacts of predicted sea level rise for a number of areas of Australia. As Ozcoasts says:

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.

Of course, in a lot of cases, in towns and cities the areas which don’t get built up, and so are available as sports grounds, are exactly the areas which aren’t allowed to get built up –  because they are already exposed to 1 in 100 year floods.

Sea level rise, though, threatens to make flooding more frequent and widespread – through tides and storm surges onto fields near the coast , and through flooded rivers being less able to drain to the ocean and needing somewhere else for the water to go.

OzCoasts hasn’t so far published maps for the Top End. We know that higher seas threaten much of Kakadu’s unique environment. But what does sea level rise mean for Territory sports grounds? How does this combine with the greater tidal range the top end experiences compared to the south?

If you can work through issues for your local grounds and let us know (including looking at work local councils are doing), that would be great (and faster than waiting for a handful of people in Sydney to try to work it out!)

Climate change: the time for games is over

Authorised by David Mason, 47 Charles St Marrickville NSW

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