Climate change: council report foresees greater risk of drought and floods in Southland

The report, Protecting our Communities, is part of the council’s long-term plan and is the subject of a Radio New Zealand report (HERE)

It says:

“The projected impacts of climate change mean an increased variability in emergencies over a shorter time – droughts to storms,” the report said.

“This may increase the overall risk to the community and may test the ability of people to be well-prepared, and increase risks to economic productivity.

“A large number of Southland’s population live on flood plains and despite the extensive flood mitigation work, flooding remains a significant risk.

“Rising sea levels provide a challenge for coastal communities. As this issue will affect several communities across local authority boundaries, the Southland Mayoral Forum will take responsibility to investigate the issues and response, and discuss with the community.”

The data suggested temperatures in Southland would increase by 1°C by 2040 and 2°C by 2090, with more turbulent weather resulting.

“A warmer atmosphere can hold about 8 percent more moisture for every 1°C increase in temperature,” the report said.

“Rainfall is projected to rise and heavy rainfall events are likely to become heavier and more frequent. Strong winds are also predicted to increase. Should these predictions play out, Southland would be exposed to an increased likelihood of natural hazards such as flooding and drought.”

The predicted changes would also result in a decrease in snowfall and a higher snowline which would have an impact on riverflows in the region and likely lead to larger winter floods.


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