Climate change is raising sea levels – not only through melting ice, but through the basic school physics that water expands as it warms.
Of the more than 100 grounds used internationally for test cricket, Australia has two of the five closest to current average sea level.
These grounds are, in their own way, canaries in the climate change coal mine.
- West Indies ground Providence Stadium, Guyana, is only just over 1 metre above current average sea level.
- The WACA is next lowest, just 2 metres above current average sea level. OzCoasts maps for 1.1 metres sea level rise (highly likely unless we make deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions right now) show high tides lapping at the gates.
- The Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi is used for some of Pakistan’s test games due to more direct and immediate political threats to cricket in that country. But the pitch is just 3 metres above current average sea level. Some of the ground is closer to 2 metres above current average sea level. Some of the stadium area at its base is even lower.
- Kingsmead, Durban South Africa, is just over 3 metres above current average sea level
- Cairns has not hosted many tests, and wants more. The ground – although not yet mapped by OzCoasts – is under serious threat from rising sea levels, at just over 3 metres above current average sea level.
These figures don’t include other grounds which are higher but which are close to tidal rivers and so are also under immediate threat from sea level rise. They do indicate just one dimension of what is at stake if we allow vested interests and apathy to thwart strong and prompt action on climate change.
Climate change: The time for games is over
Authorised by David Mason, 47 Charles St Marrickville NSW