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King Tide Flooding and Sea Level Rise
King tide flooding is set to become a life and death issue for many coastal towns and cities. Seasonal high tides and Climate Change are now survival issues for the world’s coastal cities. I live in the tropical city of Cairns. A Pacific rim city in the Far North of Australia. As a result, Cairns is a very low-lying city. Consequently, it is highly vulnerable to salt water inundation from sea-level rise. This is over and above former levels of Cairns flooding.
The term ‘king tide’ not a technical or scientific term. It is popularly used to describe any high tide that is well above average height.
Each year, I venture down to the water’s edge at the time of our highest tide. I inspect the impact of the tide on our city infrastructure. I issued a warning to our people after the 2021 King Tide. “Climate Change is a real and present danger to the city of Cairns. I fear future destruction of property and livelihoods, and even loss of life, on an unprecedented scale.”
NASA monitors sea-level rise around the world and the chief scientific bodies in most advanced nations monitor sea-level rise. However, as a climate activist, I make an effort to inspect my city at the time of the king tide. I think this is quite important.
King Tides and Sea-Level Rise = Big Flooding
A range of factors including atmospheric conditions and the lunar cycle influence the tide. However increasing sea-level rise is having an impact around the world.
The impact of coastal inundation during king tides will only get worse. This is because significant sea-level rise is already factored in as a result of greenhouse gases that have been emitted since the start of the industrial revolution. Continuing emissions exacerbate the scale of the problem.
I have been politically active in the fight for stronger action on climate change in Queensland politics. Therefore, it is of great interest to me to monitor the rate of sea-level rise. Accordingly, king tides highlight exactly where our city is vulnerable to inundation and storm surge. Rising sea levels increase our risk of massive destruction and loss of life during storm surge and cyclones.
Climate Change Warning
CBD businesses and nearby residents will be inundated by tidal floods. I call on Government representatives to take action on climate change, before it is too late.
The community must be aware of the dangers that come with climate change. Cairns has always been at risk of serious outcomes should a cyclonic storm surge coincide with a king tide. However, as the sea levels rise, the dice are well and truly loaded against us.
King Tides and Sea Level Rise to Awareness and Action
King tide flooding can be used to increase public awareness. As an illustration, activities can include events where people gather to participate in ‘climate walks’ at times of king tide. People who have not seen a king tide for many years may be surprised to see the inundation that is occurring today.
Political action should go hand in glove with any awareness activity. Indeed, every climate event must be ‘political’, because at the end of the day, if there is not political action to reduce emissions, wherever we live in the world’s coastal cities, we will find it very difficult to keep our heads above water.
Without strong action on climate change, the king tides of today will be the normal tides in just a few decades. The king tides of the future will then inundate much of the world’s coastal cities. Likewise, one-in-a-hundred-year floods will become regular events. In short, Governments must do more – now!