Coffs Coast goes under in latest sea level rise study

PARTS of our beloved Coffs Coast might be underwater by the turn of the century, according to a new coastal study released this week.

The newly developed map of Australia, based on data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, reveals how rising sea levels might affect the Coffs Coast by 2100.

This data has been used by West Australian company NGIS Australia to show the risks of sea level rise and storm surge.

The 2017 report shows the worst case of a 2m rise in sea levels.

Coffs Creek is predicted to swell and Park, Jetty and Boambee Beaches might be at risk of being washed away.

Further south, the 2100 predictions show a vastly different Bonville Creek, which had been widened and swallowed expanses of forest.

However Southern Cross University Associate Professor Christian Sanders said these forecasts were speculative based on research around coastal mangroves.

He said as long as coastal wetlands remained, the change in sea levels would remain relative to the build-up of sediment by mangroves.

"As the sea rises, the creeks can accumulate sediment," Assoc Prof Sanders said.

"The sea level will rise but the soil will also rise."

Assoc Prof Sanders said mangroves not only reduced erosion through sediment build-up but played a pivotal role in reducing carbon output.

"The more sediments trapped, the more carbon is trapped," he said.

NGIS Australia principal consultant Nathan Eaton said the predicted worst-case sea levels shown in the online model were based on the rapid ice sheet melts.

He said the previous worst-case 0.74m rise, projected in the 2013 report, looked likely based on current greenhouse gas emissions.

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