A study released Monday (May 2) shows 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 country’s coastal strip showed that some areas are already sinking by three to four millimeters per year, accelerating the frightening danger. Expectations are described asa bit scaryBy an expert, it is 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.
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According to Tim Naish, a professor at Wellington University in Victoria who co-managed the New Zealand Sea, if global sea levels rise 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. the time. 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 workTim Naish said.It’s a bit intimidating, but there’s still time and I think that’s how we look at it“.
Impact on housing prices
The data show that the more populated southeast coast of the North Island is the most exposed. In the northeast, Auckland, with a population of 1.7 million, is the country’s largest city, is particularly at risk. Sea levels are expected to rise 50% faster on the downtown waterfront and many suburbs, which will have huge impacts 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. “We still have time, but we don’t have time to sit idly byCalling on elected officials and developers to sit back and think about how best to adapt to this sea level rise, Tim Naish said.
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 choices that can be madeShe told Radio New Zealand. “We work with local authorities and insurance companies to determine who should bear the costs of some of these options as it should not fall to one party.Jacinda 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.
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