Posted in Science Alert: Experts Respond
Flooding and erosion from rising sea levels are likely to significantly impact on New Zealanders in our lifetimes, warns the latest report from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.
Commissioner Dr Jan Wright released the report titled Changing climate and rising seas: Understanding the science this afternoon, which lays out the science behind sea level rise and how its consequences will affect New Zealanders.
Drawing on modelling of future sea level rise, the document paints a grim picture of what lies ahead. It says that the sea level is ‘locked in’ to rise by about 30 centimetres by 2050, which is enough to intensify king tides, storm surges, flooding and coastal erosion across New Zealand.
The second report from the Commissioner, due next year, will show which towns and cities are most vulnerable and assess the risk to infrastructure in those areas.
You can listen to audio from the report launch below.
[note: first section of audio missing]
The Science Media Centre rounded up the following expert comments in response to the Commissioner’s report. Feel free to use these quotes in your reporting. If you would like assistance or more information, please contact the SMC (04 499 5476; email@example.com).
Prof Martin Manning, Climate Change Research Institute, Victoria University of Wellington, comments:
“Dr Wright’s very readable review of the scientific basis for estimating future sea level rise is setting out an extremely important issue for New Zealand. How do we plan for major changes to our coastline when the rate at which these will occur is still not clear?
“The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment report set 66% likely ranges of sea level rise up to 1 metre but these do not cover all of the next 100 years, or set a risk based framework for planning purposes. Furthermore several recent studies are showing that those estimates did not cover everything. A major ice sheet in the northeast of Greenland that was assumed to be stable is now known to be moving, and more detailed studies of the East Antarctic ice sheet are showing it is much more vulnerable to sea water intrusions.
Continue reading “Sea level rise to impact on New Zealanders – report”