Oz coast at greater threat from climate change induced sea waves than thought

November 14th, 2007 - 1:49 am ICT by admin  
As part of his study, Dr Ian Goodwin looked at how the changing direction and height of waves might affect coastal erosion.

The findings, which were presented at the recent Greenhouse 2007 conference in Sydney, showed that in one scenario, storm surges had the possibility of eroding beaches on Australia’s east coast by as much as 100 metres over the next 100 years.

Dr Goodwin said this was in addition to land loss due to climate-change related sea level rises.

Current Australian models of how the coast will disappear rely only on sea level rises and don’t take into account the effect of ‘wave climate’.

Dr Goodwin said, “the impact of these wave climate changes was about half of the impact of sea level again”.

During the course of his research, Dr Goodwin, along with Dr Peter Cowell from the University of Sydney, also examined the evidence of ancient coastlines buried in coastal dunes along Australia’s east coast.

With the help of CSIRO, they collected and dated sediment samples as far back as 3500 years taken from sites between Fraser Island in Queensland down to Newcastle in New South Wales.

The duo then determined when these sand grains were deposited.

The researchers found a regular change in the shape and orientation of beaches and the amount of coastal retreat that correlated with changes in the Southern Oscillation Index.

Under El Ni

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