A study published on Monday showed that sea levels are rising twice as fast as expected in parts of New Zealand, threatening the country’s two largest cities. Data collected along the coast It is from the country that certain areas are already sinking by three to four millimeters a year, accelerating the frightening danger.
These forecasts are the result of an extensive five-year research program – dubbed NZ SeaRise – carried out by dozens of local and international scientists and funded by the government.
According to their predictions, the authorities have less time than expected to plan how to adapt to the consequences of climate change, in particular, to resettle the population living along the coasts.
According to Tim Naish, a professor at Wellington University in Victoria who co-led the program, if the global sea level rises by about half a meter by 2100, that rise should be about one meter in large parts of the archipelago because the land is sinking at the same time .
“It’s a little terrifying.”
This would be particularly catastrophic for the capital, Wellington, which could see a sea level rise of 30 cm by 2040, which was not expected before 2060. The residents of Wellington could thus be victims each year of floods causing damage.
‘We have less time to work’Believing in it, said Mr. Naish “It’s a little terrifying.”. The data show that the more populated southeast coast of the North Island is the most exposed.
Auckland, with a population of 1.7 million, is the country’s largest city, is particularly vulnerable. Sea levels are expected to rise 50% faster on the downtown waterfront and in many suburbs, which will have a major impact on home prices and insurance premiums.
NZ SeaRise has developed an online tool for residents and authorities to check the forecast for their area, so they can assess flood and erosion risks. «Nous avons encore du temps, mais nous n’avons plus le temps de rester les bras croisés», a déclaré M. Naish, appelant les élus promoteeturs immobiliser à réfléchir à la meilleure façon de s’vation du adapé Sea.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said planning was already underway, including budgeting to move some residents and infrastructure away from vulnerable beaches. “The first thing is not to abdicate because there are a series of options that can be made,” she told Radio New Zealand.
“We are working with local authorities and insurance companies to determine who should bear the costs of some of these options because they should not fall to one party.”
Ms Ardern called on New Zealanders to do everything they can to reduce emissions and limit the consequences of climate change.
Sea level rise is due to ocean thermal expansion – water expands when its temperature rises – and the melting of glaciers in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.