15 December 2010 – Federal Climate Change Minister Greg Combet today released new maps produced in partnership with the Co-operative Research Centre for Spatial Information that identify the impacts of rising sea levels on low-lying areas in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Hunter and Central Coast, and South East Queensland.

Mr Combet said in a media statement the maps and a web portal would assist in planning for new residential estates and infrastructure in areas to be affected by climate change.

“These maps are an important product for the community to understand potential risks to infrastructure and properties and to prepare for the climate change impacts of sea level rises,” Mr Combet said.

The Co-operative Research Centre for Spatial Information chief executive officer Peter Woodgate said, the indundation maps show the potential long-term effects of climate change, highlighting three simple sea level rise scenarios for the period around the year 2100: low (0.5 metre), medium (0.8 m) and high (1.1 m).

  • The low scenario represents future sea-level rise which is likely to be unavoidable.
  • The medium scenario is in line with recent global emissions and observations of sea-level rise.
  • The high scenario considers the possible high-end risk identified in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 4th Assessment Report and more recent research.

Mr Combet said:

“Early engagement with communities in these areas will be critical to the development of workable adaptation solutions for local areas, so they are able to avoid risk. Where this is not possible, this engagement will help ensure they are as prepared as possible to cope with climate change impacts as they arise.”

The maps are available at the OzCoasts website.

The products comprise:

  • Sea level rise maps – A series of static sea level rise maps has been developed that highlight areas of Australia’s coast which are vulnerable to a low, medium and high sea level rise scenario relevant to the 2100 period. These maps allow community members to identify low lying areas vulnerable to inundation from any number of sea level scenarios.
  • Pilot sea-level rise visualisation tool – This is an interactive, web-based tool that displays potential inundation from sea level rise. This tool allows government agencies to identify low lying areas vulnerable to inundation from three sea level scenarios. The tool responds to a call from decision-makers for better information to understand the risks from climate change.
  • Elevation data web portal – A web portal has been developed for government and researchers to access elevation data for research and risk assessment modelling. The portal allows users to search, discover, view, licence and take delivery of elevation and related data products. In the longer term it will become a ‘virtual repository’ for elevation data across Australia. The portal is hosted by Geoscience Australia.

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