According to new research, sea levels in New Zealand will rise twice as fast as expected. So, on the one hand, there is a rising water level; on the other hand, there is a descending mainland. As a result, climate change will come much sooner than expected.

Sea Level around New Zealand

While global sea levels are expected to rise by 50 centimeters by 2100, in some parts of New Zealand it could even be as much as one meter, as the land is declining in addition to rising levels. This threatens the two largest cities in the country decades earlier than experts initially thought. New research is published on the NZ SeaRise.

New Zealand, Photo by Dario Mueller on Unsplash

Many local and international scientists have participated in NZ SeaRise’s extensive five-year research. Data collected across the country’s coastline has shown that some areas are already falling by three to four millimeters a year, significantly accelerating the long-awaited threat.

Cities at Risk

For the capital Wellington, this means that by 2040, 20 years earlier, it could expect sea levels to rise by thirty centimeters. The data show that the south-eastern coast of the North Island is most endangered, and several coastal municipalities and cities will also be affected.

Auckland, New Zealand. Photo by Dan Freeman on Unsplash

Auckland is particularly vulnerable in this respect and is the largest city in the country, with a population of 1.7 million. Sea levels are expected to rise fifty percent faster than initially expected. The water will hit the city center in several suburbs.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that adaptation planning was already underway. The plan also covers challenging issues, such as relocating some municipalities and infrastructure off the endangered coast. Ardern said the New Zealanders should not accept that rising sea levels are inevitable and that every citizen should do everything to reduce emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change.

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hoto by Ömer Faruk Bekdemir on Unsplash