An eroded Noosa Main Beach after swell from Tropical Cyclone Oma battered the shore.
An eroded Noosa Main Beach after swell from Tropical Cyclone Oma battered the shore. Caitlin Zerafa

EMERGENCY DECLARED: Council says 2000 homes under threat

NOOSA is in danger of being swamped by climate change in the next 80 years with council warning up to 2000 residential and tourist lots could be impacted by storm tidal surges.

Council's key environmental experts are warning Noosa is part of a south east Queensland global warming hot spot and councillors are set to vote to issue a climate emergency declaration.

The impacts include heat waves, more intense storms and sea level rise "all of which is likely to adversely affect the Noosa natural and human environment".

"Council therefore declares that we are in a climate emergency which requires urgent action by all levels of government," the experts' report to council said.

The report said if global greenhouse gas emissions continue on their current trajectory, Noosa can expect the worst:

"Projections indicate that by 2100, up to 2000 residential and tourist accommodation lots and 29 commercial/retail properties could be within the projected storm tide inundation zone in a 1-in-100-year scale storm," the report warns.

 

SURGE from the building swell generated by Cyclone Oma was expected to rise a metre above the highest tide over the coming days. Laguna Bay, Noosa.
SURGE from the building swell generated by Cyclone Oma was expected to rise a metre above the highest tide over the coming days. Laguna Bay, Noosa. Patrick Woods

"Up to 200 private residential lots, and three commercial/retail lots could be within the projected 1-in-100-year coastal erosion prone area."

The report said while there is little expected change in total annual rainfall, the wet season is expected to get much wetter.

This would increase by 1.43 per cent and 6.21 per cent by 2050 and 2090 respectively. However the drier seasons are expected to see reduced rainfall by up to 6.15 per cent by 2050 and up to 13.38 per cent by 2090.

There would be an increase of 1.62C in the mean annual temperature by 2050 and an increase of 3.6C by 2090.

"The average duration of the longest heatwave in a year is expected to increase from approximately four days currently to 12 days by 2050 and 56 days by 2090.

"The number of hot nights where the temperature does not go below 20C is likely to increase from the current 12 nights per year to around 52 fifty-two by 2050 and up to 112 one hundred and twelve nights by 2090.

 

Noosa on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland from an aerial perspective.
Noosa on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland from an aerial perspective. DarrenTierney

"Council accepts the latest science on climate change provided in the October 2018 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and acknowledges that the Noosa Shire is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change."

"The University of Melbourne estimates the potential damage from climate change to Australia - excluding the costs from floods, fires, pollution and biodiversity loss - will equate to $585 billion by 2030, and $760 billion by 2050," the report said.

This declaration will be discussed at council's Monday general committee meeting due to its significance, along with a related report to do with the preparation of coastal hazard mapping as part of almost $500,000 in QCoast2100 program funding.

 

Cyclone Oma heads towards the Sunshine Coast. Noosa Main beach.
Cyclone Oma heads towards the Sunshine Coast. Noosa Main beach. John McCutcheon

Permanent inundation in the mapping report is listed as moderate across the region with the worst impacts around the river and beach zones.

The report said these sea level rise impacts would be realised between 2060 and 2080 and would "significantly escalate by 2100".