Climate change and the Shoalhaven Coast
People who have lived on the coast for a long time will have first hand experience of the erosion that occurs in big storms. The worst erosion in Shoalhaven coast's history happened during big storms in the 1970s. High water levels and strong high waves cut into beaches and dunes, undermining houses and surf clubs and damaging ramps and stairways onto the beach.
A quiet time followed the 1970s, with few very large storms for more than 20 years. Over time, the sand washed off the beach during storms was pushed back onto the beach by gentle waves. Sand cut out by waves is known as the storm bite - the storm 'bite' can sometimes be seen in the dunes at the back of the beach.
Climate change has a big impact on the coast
Climate change is about more than erosion from occasional big storms.
Warmer than average temperatures, different seasonal rainfall, wind and storm patterns, as well as rising sea level are all part of climate change that are affecting our coastal community.
When sea level rises, sandy beaches erode. Every extra centimetre of sea level results in about one metre of long-term coastal erosion. Higher sea levels also mean that coastal lakes are likely to be closed off from the sea for longer than they are now.
The NSW Government sea level rise policy requires that Council consider, as a minimum, 40cm sea level rise by 2050 and 90cm rise by 2100.
How will climate change affect the NSW south coast in the future?
For more information about how climate change is expected to affect the NSW South Coast, follow these links.
Australian Government Department of Climate Change
NSW Government Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water
Local Government and Shires Association
Structural protection for the coastline