Climate change: grounds for concern for North Coast NSW sport?

Melting icecaps and glaciers might seem a long way from north coast NSW. But global warming is going into warming the oceans, which makes the water expand and rise – even before we start accounting for icecaps and glaciers.  Sea levels rose by around 200mm last century and accelerating.

OzCoasts has been publishing maps of impacts for major parts of the Australian coast.

Unfortunately, though, we don’t yet have maps for some areas, including the NSW coast north from the Hunter to the Queensland border, to verify whether some coastal grounds would be within or beyond the reach of a sea level rise such as 1.1 metres, which has been modelled by OzCoasts for other areas.

In particular, expert information is needed on risks to grounds which at first sight may seem relatively safe  because they are a few metres above current average sea levels, but which are adjacent to  rivers and near the coast, and so may be exposed to increased flood risks from tides and from floodwaters being less able to escape to sea with higher high tides.

Here are some of the grounds where we could be looking at impacts from climate change this century:

  • Andrews Park, Wauchope appears on Google Earth at 7 metres above current average sea level – but only 2 metres above the adjacent Hastings River, which has tides of nearly 2 metres at Wauchope
  • Eden Street, Kempsey has several pitches marked on Google Earth at 4-5 metres above current average sea level, but sea level rise could make flooding from the nearby Macleay River, which has tides of over 1.5 metres, more frequent
  • Several pitches at Stuart Park, Riverside, Port Macquarie appear on Google Earth at 2 metres above current average sea level and are adjacent to the Hastings River.
  • Both the synthetic and turf wicket at Vince Inmon Fields at Laurieton appear on Google Earth at 2 metres above current average sea level and are adjacent to the Camden Haven River.
  • The Donnelly Welsh playing fields at Macksville show on Google Earth at 2 metres above current average sea level. These fields of course are already subject to flooding from the nearby Nambucca River, but sea level rise would be expected to make flooding more frequent and severe
  • The turf pitch at Harwood shows on Google Earth at 2 metres above current average sea level. Sea level rise would be expected to make flooding from the nearby Clarence River more frequent and severe
  • Wherrett Park, Maclean shows on Google Earth at 2 metres above current average sea level. Sea level rise would be expected to make flooding from the nearby Clarence River more frequent and severe.
  • The pitches at Elizabeth St Murwillumbah are shown on Google Earth at around 5 metres above current average sea level – but don’t have much height at all above the adjacent Tweed River. Tides on the Tweed River at Murwillumbah are over 1.5 metres and sea level rise would mean these start from a higher base. There have been past events at Murwillumbah (like in 2012) where heavy rain has combined with king tides to see major flooding. Sea level rise would make these events more severe and frequent too
  • Some of Saunders Park at Ballina is only 3 metres above current average sea level even though there are several rows of houses (on slightly higher ground) between the park and the sea.
  • Some of the fields at the South Tweed Heads Football Club are shown on Google Earth as between just 2 and 3 metres above current average sea level.

How are local political representatives responding?

  • MP for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker hasn’t spoken up clearly about climate science. He certainly didn’t speak up when he was Shadow Minister for Sport on threats to Australian sport from climate change. What is clear, is that he voted with Tony Abbott to reverse action on climate change including voting for abolition of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and its work such as funding renewable energy projects in rural Australia.
  • You’d expect the new MP for Lyne, David Gillespie, to have at least some respect for science, as someone who’s worked in public and private practice as a physician. He couldn’t say what the National Party’s climate policy was when asked publicly in 2012. But he backed publicly, and voted for, the abolition of the Climate Change Commission, and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (which actually makes money for the budget, contrary to what Dr Gillespie seemed to be trying to say in his public statements). His sole mention of the word “climate” in Parliament so far seems to be when he mentioned that the region has a temperate climate! Well thanks for that, Doctor. Anything about the effects of climate change on health and a healthy lifestyle?
  • New MP for Page, Kevin Hogan, has acknowledged in Parliament that a changing climate is one of the challenges faced by Australian farmers.  But in his maiden speech he also spoke of pricing carbon pollution as something that “was never going to change the climate”. He didn’t explain why emissions from firms covered by carbon pricing  reduced by 7% in the first year, or why we don’t need an independent Climate Change Authority or a Clean Energy Finance Corporation, or why a “Direct Action” policy with no expert support whatsoever should be followed instead.
  • Up in Richmond, Labor’s Justine Elliott takes climate change seriously as an issue for our economy and our way of life, and in particular for the environment of the north coast.

Climate change: the time for games is over

 Authorised by David Mason, 47 Charles St Marrickville NSW

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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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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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Newcastle sport at serious risk from climate change

In many other areas of Australia, low lying sports grounds give an early warning of risks to communities from the sea level rise which is being driven by global warming, caused by greenhouse gas emissions.

In the Newcastle area, whole communities are at serious risk.

Global warming means warming oceans, and water expands as it warms. So, sea levels are rising – around 200mm last century and accelerating.

These assessments are based on the OzCoasts maps for Newcastle and the Central Coast. In most cases assessments are given here for 50cm and 1.1 metre sea level rise impacts only but in a few instances assessments based on the maps for OzCoasts “middle” case of 80cm sea level rise are also provided.

Of course, many of these areas are already exposed to flooding risk. But sea level rise will make flooding more frequent and more severe. And if carbon pollution continues unabated we may see even worse rises in sea level than OzCoasts has so far mapped.

Local Federal Labor members Pat Conroy, Sharon Claydon and Jill Hall have all stood up for climate action.

  • Jill Hall has pointed out that the majority of most of electricity price rises are because of State Liberal Governments including in NSW, not because of carbon pricing.
  • As Pat Conroy said, in opposing Tony Abbott’s attempts to reverse action on climate change including abolishing the Climate Change Authority and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, “no other government in the world questions the science and no other Prime Minister calls the science ‘crap’.”
  • As Sharon Claydon said in campaigning and in her maiden speech, Labor supports real action on climate change.

It’s hard to work out from public statements what Bob Baldwin, member for Paterson, thinks about the science of climate change. He likes to turn up and claim credit for Labor initiatives on renewable energy. But we do know which way he voted on climate action – the wrong way, with Tony Abbott.

  • Some of the fields at the King Park sporting complex at Raymond Terrace are just above inundation level on OzCoasts map for the impacts of 11o cm sea level rise. The athletics field at the south west corner  isn’t – it shows as fully inundated
    king_park_raymond_terrace

The Newcastle junior competitions also include kids from further north at Nelson Bay and Port Stephens. Their home grounds don’t appear on OzCoasts map yet, and look slightly higher above sea level on Google Earth and other sources. But they won’t be able to play as visitors at many Newcastle grounds if the oceans are allowed to rise much higher.

  • Hexham Park shows as completely inundated on OzCoasts map for the impacts of 110 cm sea level rise, together with most of the surrounding district – including a section of the Pacific Highway and a substantial section of the main north railway.

hexham

  • Birmingham Gardens Sports Club and Harold Myers Park both experience inundation with 1.1 metres sea level rise
    gardens
  • Aitchison Reserve, Pelican: With 1.1 metre sea level rise the ground is just above water at high tides, but much of the surrounding area is submerged
  • Stockton: Griffith Park experiences inundation with 1.1 metre sea level rise;  and just avoids inundation with 50cm sea level rise. Ballast 1 and 2 would both be inundated with 1.1metre sea level rise;  both would just avoid inundation with 50cm sea level rise
    ballast
     
  • Swansea: Quinn Park and Parbury Park are shown as experiencing inundation with 1.1 metre sea level rise; and as just above inundation level with 50 cm sea level rise. Chapman Oval , with much of the surrounding area, would experience inundation with 1.1 metre sea level rise. The ground would experience significant inundation even with 50 cm sea level rise.
    Swansea
  • Carrington: Substantial inundation of Connolly Park and Pat Jordan Oval, together with the entire surrounding area, would occur with 1.1 metre sea level rise. The grounds just miss inundation with 50 cm sea level rise
    Carrington
  • Wickham Park, Hamilton:  Along with much of the surrounding area the grounds show as experiencing  inundation on OzCoasts map for impacts of 110 cm sea level rise
    Wickham
  • National Park, Newcastle: Each of the sports grounds including the tennis courts show substantial inundation with 110 cm sea level rise
    Newcastle_National
  • Islington Park: The ground would experience substantial inundation with 1.1 metre sea level rise, along with much of the surrounding area.
    Islington
  • Federal Park, Wallsend: Inundation of both (northern) synthetic pitches, and inundation of the southern ground to close to the turf wicket, would be experienced with 1.1 metre sea level rise. All 3 pitches are just above inundation level with 50cm sea level rise
    wallsend
  • Warners Bay: Warner Park experiences major areas of inundation with 1.1 metre sea level rise; and is just above inundation level for 50 cm sea level rise. Feighan Park starts to show inundation at 1.1 metres sea level rise.
    warners
  • Rathmines : The ground experiences some inundation with the impacts of 110 cm sea level rise
    rathmines
  • Walters Park, Speers Point: The ground would experience substantial inundation with 1.1metre sea level rise; and partial inundation with 50 cm sea level rise
    walters
  • Toronto sports ground: the grounds show as experiencing partial inundation with the impacts of 1.1 metres sea level rise
    toronto
  • Tulkaba Park in Teralba shows as fully inundated on the map for impacts of 110 cm sea level rise
    tulkaba
  • Water Board Memorial Oval, Blackalls Park: Major inundation would occur with 1.1 metre sea level rise; the ground is shown as just above inundation level for 50 cm  sea level rise
    waterboard
  • Douglass St Oval, Dora Creek: The ground experiences inundation of outer areas with 1.1 metre sea level rise
    dora

Climate change – the time for games is over 

 Authorised by David Mason, 47 Charles St Marrickville NSW

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Cricket and climate change in the media

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Sydney North Shore sport under threat from climate change

Cricket and other junior and community sports on Sydney’s North Shore are under threat from rising sea levels as a result of climate change.

Global warming is warming the oceans as well as the atmosphere. Water expands as it warms. So, the seas are rising – around 200mm already last century, and accelerating.

OzCoasts has published maps of impacts from sea level rises of 50cm, 80cm and 110 cm. If global greenhouse emissions are not drastically reduced, fast, our children will see rises like this or more in their lifetimes.

North Shore local members Joe Hockey and Paul Fletcher have both said they accept the science of climate change. Both have spoken in favour of an emissions trading scheme in the past, as one of the forms of climate action we need. But now they are voting the other way.

They need to vote with the future of their constituencies in mind, not just with Tony Abbott’s agenda for political power.  North Shore cricket will be dismissed by climate change if we don’t even play a real shot.

  • Unfortunately, the OzCoasts map for impacts of a 1.1 metre sea level rise due to climate change would see the grade ground at Tunks Park completely inundated. Two of the three grounds with synthetic pitches higher up the park would be inundated too, with a rise of this level.

tunks_park

 

  • Reid Park in Mosman, which has sometimes been used for North Shore junior cricket, would be inundated with a 1.1 metre rise in sea level

    .reid_pk_mosman

  • For Primrose Park at Cremorne, OzCoasts’ map for 1.1 metres of sea level rise indicates that the pitch nearest the water would have a substantially shorter boundary than it does now. More sea level rise than that, of course, and Primrose starts to lose pitches.
  • primrose
  • For Anderson Park in Neutral Bay, 1.1 metres sea level rise sees Harbour tides coming up under the trees down near the water. Any more rise than that and we’ll start to see salt water regularly on at least one of the pitches.
  • Balmoral park is still there, just, with 1.1 metres of sea level rise –  but don’t try to lie on the beach
  • Buffalo Creek park in Hunters Hill is still above water with 1.1 metres of sea level rise, but by surprisingly little as the tides come up the nearby Lane Cove River.
  • Burns Bay reserve in Kooyong Road Riverview, unfortunately, does start to see areas of inundation with sea level rise of 1.1 metres.

burns_bay

  • Gore Creek Reserve ground would still be there with 1.1 meters of sea level rise – but the water would be up to the boundary now.
  • Surprisingly, the north end of Chatswood Golf Course starts to see some greens experiencing inundation on the map for impacts of 1.1 metres sea level rise

chatswood

  • Morrison Bay at Putney sees several of the cricket grounds used by North Shore cricket and others – as well as the netball fields – inundated by 1.1 metres sea level rise.

morrison2

Climate change: the time for games is over.

 Authorised by David Mason, 47 Charles St Marrickville NSW

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Sydney Northern Districts cricket at risk from climate change

The risk to Australia’s summer game from more severe and frequent heatwaves resulting from climate change should be obvious.

A less obvious threat may be that of sea level rise.

Global warming is warming the oceans. Water expands as it warms. So, the seas are rising: already around 200mm last century, and accelerating.

The grounds used by the Northern District Cricket Association include a number down by the river at Meadowbank. Unfortunately, Ozcoasts maps for impacts of sea level rise of 1.1 metres from climate change, show most of these grounds as inundated or badly affected.

meadowbank

With a 1.1 metre sea level rise the water also comes surprisingly close to the cricket ground at North Ryde RSL, Magdala Park. Remember, the nearby Lane Cove River is a tidal inlet of Sydney Harbour for much of its length, so sea level rise has a direct impact.

Bennelong MP John Alexander might know a bit about the elite sport that gave him success and fame back in the day. But where is he, on standing up for the grounds your kids play on? Voting the wrong way, that’s where.

He’s said he accepts the science of climate change. Yet he voted for abolition of carbon pricing; reversal of pricing on even more dangerous greenhouse gases like synthetic refrigerants; abolition of the Climate Change Authority; and abolition of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

In sharp contrast to John Alexander, Labor’s candidate for Bennelong – Jason Yat-Sen Li – has done major work himself on climate action in the corporate world. He led climate initiatives for IAG, in particular. Which one is really the good sport?

Climate change: the time for games is over

 Authorised by David Mason, 47 Charles St Marrickville NSW

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