Interactive Coastal Risk Screening Tool

The interactive Climate Central | Coastal Risk Screening Tool is extremely interesting and well worth your time to explore if you own a property at Waikawa Beach.

For example, if we choose a best-case scenario with a combination of low sea level rise, immediate sweeping cuts to pollutants such as CO2 and good luck then we can see that in 2030 (less than a decade away now) the coastal ends of Manga Pirau Street and James Street are liable to fall below the tideline.

Tideline is used to denote the recent historical average of the highest daily local tide level or, technically, the mean higher high water (MHHW) line. … modeled tidal increments are added to recent historical average sea surface heights measured by satellite. Tideline projections add projected sea level rise.

Optimistic settings on the interactive map.
Projected risk areas on the map.

The website allows you to easily find explanations and definitions of terms.

We have certainly seen in the last few years that a combination of heavy rainfall in the Tararuas, gale force westerlies and storm surge can drive river and sea water right up into the dunes, sometimes scouring away sizeable areas of sand.

With very high tides the sea comes right to the base of the dunes. South entrance off Reay Mackay Grove in 2018.
With very high tides the sea comes right to the base of and into the dunes. South entrance off Reay Mackay Grove in 2018.

If we look at more pessimistic projections for 2030, such as maintaining our current trajectory on pollutants like CO2, with sea level rise + annual flood and bad luck, the picture changes. Now more of James and Manga Pirau Streets are threatened, along with the northward end of Reay Mackay Grove. Moreover, Waikawa Beach Road could be cut off in a flood between the village entrance and Walkers Lane.

Sea level rise + annual flood:

Local sea level projection plus the added height of a local annual flood. An annual flood’s height above sea level is exceeded once per year on average.

Less optimistic settings on the map.
Map showing greater areas of risk.

There are plenty more combinations to explore, and the forecast can be extended out to 2150. There’s a brief video tutorial that’s worth watching too for other options available with the map.

4 thoughts on “Interactive Coastal Risk Screening Tool”

  1. so some climate change/sea level rise map produced by an American based organisation is a useful tool for predicting sea level rise on our local coast – I think not and really falls into the definition of fake news

    1. While it appears Climate Central is based in the US, as is NASA whose satellites provide countries all over the world with much of the data individual countries use to generate weather maps and detect climate trends, that doesn’t make any difference to anything. Every organisation has to be based somewhere. The data however is global. As they say:

      Climate Central’s sea level rise and coastal flood maps are based on peer-reviewed science in leading journals.

      Outside of the United States, maps are based on global-scale datasets for elevation and tides in addition to sea level rise projections.

      It would be useful for you to provide the “definition of fake news” you refer to so others can see how it fits with the global scientific data the visualisation tool is based on.

  2. Looking at the old river maps from mid 19 hundreds, till today, doesnt seem much coastal inundation has taken place. The data ( depending which side of the fence your on), seems to me, a complete load of rubbish. Mind it fits the narrative I imagime

    1. Interesting, isn’t it that we have much better, more accurate and more detailed record keeping now, and also that we have the technology and capability to forecast how things are likely to play out in the future. The data clearly shows our climate is changing much more rapidly now than it was at any time previously. Sea level rise is already taking place and the computing power now available to scientists shows how this trend is likely to affect us in the future. Have *you* recorded data that contradict what thousands of scientists around the world have established consensus on?

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