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 blog is meant to provide a place for information on threats to sport in Australia from climate change. Starting from sea level rise and cricket grounds, and working from there.

We 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.

While shockjocks  and other cash for comment types deny that climate change is even happening;  and while Tony Abbott and his crew claim to accept it’s happening, but are trying to roll back action and deny the consequences (like increased risks from bushfires and heatwaves),  local councils around Australia are acting much more responsibly, mapping and trying to respond to increased flood risks from sea level rise.

Much of this work has been focused on local government responsibilities for building approvals and emergency planning, and increasing risks of damage to major infrastructure.

We’ve seen less discussion so far, though, of threats to something very important to ordinary Australian life: sport

The Sochi WInter Olympics have helped highlighted threats to winter sports from climate change.

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.

What we haven’t seen much of, yet, is discussion of impacts of climate change on summer sports in Australia, such as cricket.

Test cricketers have played in some extreme conditions. Climate change will have impacts at that level too. But this blog isn’t mostly about that – it’s more concerned with climate change impacts on the thousands of people playing every weekend at club and community level around Australia.

Many of the grounds that cricket and other community sports rely on are located in low lying areas along Australia’s coasts and rivers.

This blog was prompted by an umpire and local administrator seeing high tides already intruding on a ground in Sydney’s inner west.  A little bit of research online showed that we are looking at a much more widespread problem, soon and into our children’s lifetimes, and a problem we need to act on to limit its impacts.

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 Sydney; NSW central coast and Hunter; Melbourne; Brisbane and SouthEast  Queensland ; 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 average sea level by using Google Earth (but remember this is only a very rough guide: there are things called tides and storms).

So let’s go.  The blog will start with working through NSW grounds using Cricket NSW links, Google Maps, Google Earth, OzCoasts and local government sites. Anyone who has information on other grounds; other mapping sources and approaches; and what we could do with this information, comment away!


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