Sydney Airport in 2100 under a high emissions scenario.

Sydney Airport, Fishermans Bend in Melbourne and Elizabeth Quay in Perth will all be underwater by 2100 if emissions don’t fall, updated modelling from Coastal Risk Australia shows.

The updated modelling finds that many more homes, streets and major infrastructure assets will be submerged than the original modelling predicted last year under a “business as usual” scenario where sea levels rise by two metres.

If not addressed the sea-level rise is set to cause havoc, with airports in Sydney, Brisbane and Hobart predicted to go underwater, as well as large swathes of low-lying cities such as Cairns, Darwin, the Gold Coast and Byron Bay.

“Anyone can look at these maps and visualise exactly how sea-level rise, driven by climate change, will permanently alter our coastline and neighbourhoods,” website co-creator Nathan Eaton said.

Melbourne in 2100 under a high emissions scenario.

“We already knew this was going to be bad news for low-lying areas, but the latest science is telling us to brace for even worse.”

He said 80 per cent of Australians lived near coastal areas, and they needed to “arm themselves” with the best-available information and prepare for change.

“Unless we dramatically reduce our global emissions this is a snapshot of what we can expect.”

UNSW Climate Change Research Centre Professor John Church said it was currently an “if not when” situation in regards to reaching two metres of sea level rise, and the ramifications were global in nature.

“This scenario would result in major catastrophes and displace many tens of millions of people around the world,” he said.

Sea levels have risen on average 17cm over the 20th century. Each 10cm rise is predicted to increase the frequency of coastal flooding three times.

Cairns in 2100 under a high emissions scenario.

Places at risk under a two-metre sea-level rise, according to Coastal Risk Australia, include:

New Souths Wales

  • Byron (surf and swimming) and Manly beaches in New South Wales
  • Sydney International Airport
  • Rose Bay, Double Bay, Wooloomooloo, Rushcutters Bay
  • Circular Key, Millers Point, Wentworth Park, Botanic Gardens
  • Port Macquarie, Newcastle and surrounds, Ballina, Byron Bay and Noosa


  • Bells Beach, Brighton, Ocean Grove, St Kilda and Wye River beaches in Victoria
  • Major infrastructure hotspots like Port Melbourne, Fisherman’s Bend, Coode Island, Docklands, docks in Williamstown and Southbank
  • Popular beachside suburbs Albert Park, Middle Park, St Kilda West, Patterson Lakes and Williamstown North
  • Moolap in Greater Geelong and Barwon Heads, Queenscliff, Point Lonsdale and Breamlea


  • Agnes Water, Burleigh Heads, Noosa and Whitehaven
  • Fisherman Island, Brisbane Airport, Stradbroke Island, Bulimba and Hamilton in Brisbane.
  • Cairns, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Port Douglas

Western Australia

  • North Freemantle, Busselton, Bunbury and Mandurah
  • Cottesloe and Coogee beaches
  • Elizabeth Quay, and parts of Perth and South Perth
  • Sporting grounds the WACA, Ascot racecourse, and Maylands Peninsula and Royal Perth golf courses

South Australia

  • West Lakes in South Australia
  • Glenelg in South Australia
  • Hindmarsh Island and Victor Harbour in South Australia


  • Lauderdale in Tasmania

See Coastal Risk Australia

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