Mooloolaba and Pt Cartwright from the air. Photo: Nearmap
Mooloolaba and Pt Cartwright from the air. Photo: Nearmap

Why Qld beaches will lose their sand to NSW

QUEENSLAND is famous for its long, white beaches but a recent report suggests sand movement could drop by as much as 30% over the next decade, leading to major erosion problems.

Already, aerial photos taken over the past few years show the startling impact of the loss of sand.

A recent article on Swellnet says approximately 500,000 cubic metres of sand passes the NSW/QLD border each year ultimately ending up just north of Fraser Island, where the flow of sand drops into a deepwater abyss.

Recently, scientists have predicted the northward flow of sand will reduce over the coming century.

The changes will have huge impacts not only on tourism and surfing, but also ratepayers as councils are increasingly called upon to carry out works to restore beaches and prepare properties from erosion.

Ian Goodwin, an Associate Professor in Climate and Coastal Risk at Macquarie University, along with research partners Thomas Mortlock and Stuart Browning, had a paper published in the Journal of Geophysical Research that revealed sand flow on the East Coast will reduce throughout the 21st century due to changes in storm wave events.

Their theory is built upon an observed poleward expansion of the tropics.

They found storms that form in the tropics would become more common, while storms that form in the southern reaches of the Tasman Sea would become less regular.


That would mean north-east swells and less south swells, affecting sand transport.

In the southern and central regions of the NSW coast, sand that would otherwise move north will increasingly stay put.

While in the north of NSW and the Queensland coast up to Fraser Island, the quantity of sand moving north will reduce.

The Gold Coast City Council has already allocated $32 million for beach protection this year in a bid to monitor changes in weather conditions and protect coastal infrastructure from shoreline erosion.



Nearmap, an Australian aerial imagery and location content company, has captured high-resolution images revealing some of the areas across Queensland's coastline worst affected by coastal erosion.

"With more than 80 per cent of Australians living on the coast, it's important that coastal erosion is monitored closely to anticipate and prevent potential risks. That's where innovative technologies like aerial imagery come in," said John Biviano, senior vice president and general manager at Nearmap Australia said.



"Businesses and governments can use Nearmap's aerial imagery and inbuilt tools to identify recurring trends and track how our coastlines are changing over time. It's also useful to help calculate the best times and areas to lay refilling sand to rehabilitate our eroding coasts.

"As we continue to build along Australia's beautiful coastline, it's important more than ever that we leverage the technology we have available today to help plan and build future developments."

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