20 May 2011


The Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, today released new information and tools highlighting the potential impacts on South Australia of sea level rises from climate change.

The information includes maps which identify the potential future impacts of sea level rise on the Adelaide region. These maps complement maps released previously for Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Hunter and Central Coast, and south east Queensland.
Mr Combet said the maps had been developed by the Federal Government in partnership with the Co-operative Research Centre for Spatial Information to help communities prepare for the impacts of rising sea levels.

The maps illustrate three sea level rise scenarios for the Adelaide region: low (0.5m) sea level rise that is likely to be unavoidable; medium (0.8m) in line with current trends in global carbon pollution and observations of sea level rise; and high (1.1m) which is the possible high end risk based on more recent science.

Mr Combet said the coastal maps illustrated the type of event that could be expected to occur at least once a year and possibly more frequently, by 2100.

"Even under the low sea level rise scenario of 0.5 metres, the centre of Port Adelaide is likely to experience frequent flooding,” Mr Combet said.

“These maps show that Adelaide, like other coastal communities around Australia, is vulnerable to rising sea levels with impacts like erosion, sea inundation and flooding.”

“This shows how important it is to take action to tackle climate change and to start early planning for its unavoidable impacts.”

“The scientific advice is that we can avoid the worst of these potential impacts if we reduce our carbon pollution. That is why the government is committed to putting a price on carbon,” Mr Combet said.

The Minister also released an updated Climate Change Potential Impacts and Costs fact sheet summarising research into the possible impacts of climate change in South Australia.

It highlights that climate change has the potential to have broad impacts on South Australian communities, health, industries and the natural environment.

For example, South Australia produces almost half of the nation’s wine grapes and more than half of national wine exports, valued at over $1.3 billion in 2009 -2010. Climate change impacts, including reduced rainfall and water availability coupled with a warming climate could have a major impact on grape quality and prices, directly affecting the state’s iconic wine-growing regions and industry.

The products

Sea level rise maps

A series of sea level rise maps has been prepared to communicate the risks of sea level rise from a changing climate. These maps show low lying vulnerable areas for a low, medium and high sea level rise scenario, for the period around 2100. The maps illustrate the type of event that could be expected to occur at least once a year – and possibly more frequently – by the year 2100. The maps will be publicly available at

Sea level rise visualisation tool

An interactive, web based tool has been developed to display potential inundation from sea level rise. As a pilot, access to the sea level rise visualisation tool will be provided to relevant government agencies/decision-makers to assess functionality and usefulness. The sea level rise visualisation tool is based high resolution elevation data (with a vertical accuracy of +/- 10-15cm). The Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) were hydrologically conditioned and enforced to better reflect how water will flow across the land surface.

National Elevation Data Framework (NEDF) portal

An online web portal has been developed to facilitate access to elevation data and derived products such as DEMs. It is based on the latest web services technologies and is the first system of its type offered by government in Australia.

Media contact:  Mark Davis 0400 295 560
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