Sea level rise could swamp some New Zealand cities

Hollywood A-lister Leonardo Di Caprio fronts National Geographic's documentary Before The Flood.
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Hollywood A-lister Leonardo Di Caprio fronts National Geographic's documentary Before The Flood.

New Zealand cities including Christchurch and Wellington could be inundated by global warming-induced rising sea levels, according to data from a National Geographic documentary.

An interactive map released with National Geographic's Leonardo Di Caprio-produced documentary Before The Flood lets users dial-in cities around the world and shows several New Zealand cities under threat even if mid-range global warming predictions materialise.

Click here to see how rising sea levels could affect where you live.

Auckland's 10 kilometre long coastal Tamaki Drive would submerge under rising seas.
JOHN SELKIRK

Auckland's 10 kilometre long coastal Tamaki Drive would submerge under rising seas.

The map indicates much of Christchurch, Napier, south Dunedin and Miramar in Wellington could be submerged under metres of water under some scenarios.

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Timaru, Gisborne, Whangarei, Nelson, Whanganui and Invercargill are other cities likely to feel the effect of rising waters.

NASA scientist Dr Eric Rignot believes it's now too late to stop a large part of Antarctica's ice melting, pushing sea ...
JOE RAEDLE

NASA scientist Dr Eric Rignot believes it's now too late to stop a large part of Antarctica's ice melting, pushing sea level rises by three metres.

In 2016 low-lying south Dunedin was hit by floodwaters that could return, exacerbated by rising sea levels, the map indicates.

Auckland gets off comparatively lightly with the city's narrow coastal strips buttressed by steeply rising terrain containing water rises.

On average, a 2.5 degree Celsius global temperature increase would see New Zealand coastal sea levels rise by 5.6 metres.

Most of Christchurch would be submerged by a 5.6 metre plus sea level rise.
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Most of Christchurch would be submerged by a 5.6 metre plus sea level rise.

Before The Flood users can pick any location on earth, including New Zealand locations, to see how by .5C increments, rising temperatures affect locations.

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Victoria University climate professor Tim Naish said although "cool" websites like Before The Flood showed what incremental temperature rises would do to sea levels, uncertainty remained.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change did not include in their sea level rise predictions what a rapid retreat of Antarctica's ice sheets would mean for sea levels.

Much of Napier which was thrust up by 1931's Hawke's Bay earthquake could go underwater again.
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Much of Napier which was thrust up by 1931's Hawke's Bay earthquake could go underwater again.

Without Antarctica's retreat, the panel predicted New Zealand's sea levels would only rise perhaps 80cm.

"The bottom line is that current sea-level projections may significantly underestimate the Antarctic contribution to future sea levels by 2100 by as much as 80 centimetres for the business as usual scenario without emissions reductions," Naish said.

"If we don't stabilise temperatures at two degrees we could commit the planet to 5.6m sea level rises."

Low-lying south Dunedin, already affected by flooding could almost disappear.
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Low-lying south Dunedin, already affected by flooding could almost disappear.

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Although Wellington central gets off lightly, a few bays around Wellington Harbour, Miramar would become a patchwork ...
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Although Wellington central gets off lightly, a few bays around Wellington Harbour, Miramar would become a patchwork suburb from sea rises.

 - Stuff

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