King tide a 'snapshot into the future'

  • 30/01/2014

Aucklanders are being urged to hit their local beaches this weekend – not because the weather's going to be any good, but to document the king tide.

The council's King Tides Initiative hopes to get a detailed look at what parts of the city will be affected as sea levels rise over the next century due to climate change.

"The king tide's a bit of a snapshot into the future about sea level rise and what could happen in all of our lifetimes, in terms of those impacts," says coordinator Ben Sheeran.

"What we think is really important in terms of the King Tides Initiative is to encourage people in the community to get out there and to document this king tide event on Sunday. That provides us with valuable information going forward to learn how to plan and adapt for sea level rise in the future."

King tides happen when the moon is closest to the Earth, and this Sunday marks its closest approach of 2014.

"On Sunday we've got a king tide at 10:07am on the east coast, and 12:15pm on the west coast," says Mr Sheeran.

"We really encourage people to go out, go to your local beach, take a photo, note the time and the location and we have a platform for you to put that up on. You can put that up on our website which is auckland.kingtides.org.nz or our social media platform, which is kingtidesakl on Facebook and Instagram, so they can upload it there as well."

Auckland Council civil defence planning manager Richard Woods says low-lying areas such as the cycleway along the northwestern motorway and Tamaki Drive will be underwater.

"There will be low-lying footpaths and stuff which people usually access which they may not be able to access in the few hours before and after that king tide on Sunday," says Mr Woods.

Mr Sheeran says much of the focus on climate change has been how to prevent – or at least mitigate – it, but it's time to acknowledge effects like sea level rises are more likely than not going to happen.

"It's as much about adaption as it is prevention," he says.

"I think what we've got to look at and what we're trying to do is engage the community and to start a conversation around how they can influence decision-makers to combat and to adapt to sea level rise. We need to look at things like where we build on the coast, how and where we travel, where transport networks are going to be, look at impacts on habitat, coastal inundation… it's the start of a conversation."

If successful, Auckland Council hopes to repeat the project during future king tides.

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source: newshub archive