7 Dec 2009

Impact of sea level changes examined at Nelson

6:38 pm on 7 December 2009

As the climate change conference in Copenhagen begins, a report has been issued in Nelson showing how much of the region will be flooded within 100 years if sea levels rise as forecast.

The report, commissioned by a solar power company, shows city streets, parks and infrastructure submerged, and a substantial loss for industries worth $1 billlion to the region's economy.

The report by the Cawthron Institute, examines regional impacts based on forecast sea level rises of between one and two metres.

In the worst-case scenario, large parts of central Nelson would be inundated, the airport would be at risk and much of Farewell Spit would be submerged.

Warmer temperatures would mean more pests such as mosquitoes and jellyfish, and crop diseases may increase.

The Cawthron Institute says the impacts would be similar in other New Zealand coastal communities.