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Climate change

Drought affected creek

Scientists can’t predict exactly how climate change will impact on our coastal environments. There may be impacts that we have not even imagined. 

These are just some of the things that we are likely to see occur in our coastal areas due to climate change.

  • Increases in sea level. Only small increases are expected in the next 50 years. It may mean that with high tides and heavy rains the impact of floods will be worse. The growth of mangroves and salt marshes could change. 
  • As the temperature of the water increases, the species of plants and animals may change. Some of the most dramatic changes could be the distribution of microscopic animals. Some animals and plants might become locally extinct.The purpose of taking the photos is to have a good record of what the coastal environment is like now. This includes the inter-tidal zone, beach, sand dunes, vegetation, tracks, any built structures, development of roads and drainage.
  • Some introduced pest animals and plants may increase the damage they do as the local indigenous plants and animals find it difficult to survive.
  • We are told to expect more violent storms and worse floods. Storms can damage coastal environments. Floods contain a lot of sediment and more pollution. 
  • Many corals over the next 50 years are under threat from increased sea temperatures. Corals die when the sea temperature stays high for too long. Corals need perfectly clean water. Sediment suffocates them. 
  • In the future people can take photos of the same locations and see if there are changes. Once they have found changes they can then investigate the causes. This process should be able to identify problems more quickly than if there is no photographic recorded information about an area. 

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