The New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has admitted that New Zealand is facing some serious coastal problems.
A recent study carried out by global scientists showed that New Zealand was in danger of losing its status, due to a lack of protection for the nation’s beaches. Although the main causes of this decline can be traced to natural fluctuations, experts have also pointed out that human interventions are a major cause.
Coastal erosion is a major problem that New Zealand is facing. This occurs when the sea level rises and retreats, which leave the land on shores exposed to rising water. As a result, the soil is eroding away at an alarming rate, with more land being lost each year. In the worst case scenario, homes and other structures may not be able to be built on the shoreline anymore.
The most serious of these issues is evident in the Bay of Islands, a string of coral islands off the coast of Auckland. These are surrounded by a ring of seawater, making it impossible for marine animals to live. If nothing is done, the animals may face extinction within the next decade. Fortunately, many organizations are working hard to raise money and protect the environment for future generations.
New Zealand is one of the world’s greenest countries and more essential to the world than we know. However, the sea is not able to filter out all the harmful substances from the air and water. Over the past few decades, the amount of chemicals that have been dumped into the ocean has increased dramatically, leading to a serious problem with nutrient dumping. Sediment from illegal fishing has also contributed to this problem.
Coastal erosion also poses a serious problem for the country’s sea life. Fish, birds, and marine mammals cannot survive in the low sea. The powerful ocean currents wash away small organisms and materials that wash ashore, turning beaches into nothing more than mud holes.
One of the main causes of coastal problems is the speed of sea level rise. This problem will only be exacerbated as more land is submerged as the sea levels continue to rise. Coastal erosion and waves also mean that storm water and rubbish can easily mix together, threatening the health and safety of locals.
It is impossible to avoid global warming. A rise in temperatures above 2 degrees Celsius over the last century has made the issue more urgent than ever. New Zealand has a limited supply of fossil fuels, which has made reducing carbon emissions a priority. Those in power have also worked hard to create new sources of renewable energy, including solar power and geothermal heat. Improved manufacturing methods and use of bio-degradable waste materials have also helped the country to reduce its annual emissions.
Despite all of these efforts, however, New Zealand faces some coastal problems that it will have to address over the next few decades. Rapid coastal erosion and sea level rise mean that some beaches are losing their appeal to tourists. Many of the islands’ main towns sit right on the water, and floodplains are becoming increasingly used by vehicles as they pass through. A rise in both sea level and temperatures could also threaten New Zealand’s freshwater supplies. While experts have been hopeful about the future of New Zealand’s tourism industry, they acknowledge that it is hard to give up when you are watching your favorite beach go up in flames.
New Zealand’s geography makes it vulnerable to flooding, especially in the summertime. In some areas, this threat is amplified by the amount of freshwater used to cool the air, but in other areas it is merely worsened by high tides. Rapid groundwater drainage has given the island a lot of water in the past, and with increasing demand and climate change, that flow is likely to increase still further. This means that in places where flooding has previously occurred, rising tides and increased water levels may cause even more serious coastal problems in the future.
Coastal erosion is one of the biggest threats to New Zealand’s marine ecosystem. Sediment from the limestone seas surrounding the island make up a major part of the marine environment, providing a food source for fish and providing a base for various aquatic species. It is also one of the main reasons why the island has so much natural beauty. Erosion tends to be caused by two main factors – heavy rainfall and strong winds. In places where the rainfall is over the levels required to support the marine life, erosion will likely result.
Winds are also a major factor in New Zealand’s coastal problems. Strong winds blow from the colder northern hemisphere, generally west to east, at a generally consistent rate. The winds have the effect of lifting the sediment that lies beneath the sea bed. As that sediment pile grows, the sea level gradually rises. Without any form of re-acclamation or protective infrastructure in place, that topsoil is likely to erode at an alarming rate, causing flooding and erosion issues for the future.
Extreme Weather In New Zealand
New Zealand has some of the most diverse climates in the world. Each part of the country boasts a different landscape and weather, which mean that New Zealanders has a lot of unique and interesting experiences to take advantage of. The weather in New Zealand is known for its great variety and there are a wide variety of climates within the main centers of Auckland, Wellington, and Queenstown. Each region possesses its own distinctive climate. Below we look at some of the more common New Zealand climate problems.
The two largest islands in New Zealand – Island of New Zealand (NAZ) and the Coromandel – are situated in the southern hemisphere and experience extreme differences in temperature. The winter months are cold, and wet on the Islands, whilst summer sees temperatures warm up, but remain bearable. The western parts of the Coromandel see the highest temperatures with Auckland seeing the lowest. The eastern areas, which include Katikati and Queenstown, have more consistent weather, but still see extremes in temperature. The areas further south tend to have cooler, wintrier winters.
Another huge disparity lies in the amount of rainfall experienced. In areas further south, where the west coast slopes towards Auckland, the amount of rainfall is less than in the eastern regions. Conversely, the west coast of the North Island experiences much higher rainfall than any other area of the North Island. This trend is likely to continue throughout the season, meaning that a careful watch is necessary to determine when the highest amounts of rainfall will occur.
Another problem faced by New Zealanders is the extreme cold. In the winter months, temperatures can drop as low as zero degrees in some areas. The western and eastern coastlines often have these low temperatures, but patches of cold can be found around the country. The lack of warmth can affect the amount of tourism that can be supported in a given area, especially during the colder seasons.
One of the more severe consequences of New Zealand’s changing climate is the impact it has on the wildlife population. Since birds have to make a home for themselves, without access to certain food sources, they can suffer from severe disruptions. The lack of green vegetation in many areas also makes it difficult for birds to survive. These and other climate problems are likely to pose long term problems for New Zealand’s wildlife.
There is evidence that indicates that certain weather events may become more frequent in the future. Evidence shows that there have been a number of instances where extreme weather events are becoming more frequent. For instance, a 15 minute downpour in Christchurch in 2021, which resulted in the flooding of surrounding areas, and an extreme weather event last month in Wanaka. Extreme weather events can have their own consequences. They can cause flooding, which can be a risk for residential properties and infrastructure. They can also cause mudslides which can be a risk for the safety of motorists on the roads.
Extreme weather events have led to unprecedented flooding in Christchurch and across the state. Heavy rainfalls and record low rainfall over a brief period of time can have devastating effects on infrastructure. Roads become impassable, sewage treatment centers sink, and public transportation and transport services come to a halt. In some cases, hospitals struggle to cope with large numbers of patients. For this reason, communities are urged to prepare for extreme weather conditions.
It is not just New Zealand that is feeling the impact of global climate change. Across the world, people are struggling to adapt to the changes occurring. Adaptation is a slow and gradual process, but when it comes to extreme weather events, adaptation is much more problematic. If we want to prevent a rapid worsening of climate change, its vital to start preparing now.
Provided by Antonio Westley
Disclaimer: This article is meant to be seen as an overview of this subject and not a reflection of viewpoints or opinions as nothing is definitive. So, make sure to do your research and feel free to use this information at your own discretion.