Brace yourselves ... it's heating up
In a new report which will impact landscape architects working in the Auckland area, NIWA says the city's set to get hotter. The agency warns the average temperature will increase by up to 3.75C over the next century.
Currently central Auckland experiences around 20 days a year when the mercury rises above 25C, but that could quadruple.
If global emissions continue on the current path there will be more flooding, drought and rising sea levels, which will have a major effect on coastal communities, infrastructure and habitats, the report says.
That’ll impact on the goods and services provided by our natural environment including primary industries, as well as encouraging the spread of pests.
Mayor Phil Goff says climate change is humanity’s biggest environmental threat.
“We need both to reduce carbon emissions and to take urgent action to future proof our communities, and our infrastructure from the impacts of rising sea levels and weather changes,” he says.
The 350 page report by NIWA was commissioned by Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, Watercare and Panuku Development Auckland.
It looks at the impact climate change will have on different environments and sectors within the Auckland Region in terms of water quality and soil changes, as well as on our coastal communities.
“If we fly blind on this the chances of us spending very precious ratepayer money where it’s not actually needed goes up so this is all about arming ourselves with the very best information that we can before we start investing and acting,” Auckland Council CEO Stephen Town said.
Niwa’s chief scientist for climate, Sam Dean, said the volatile weather patterns would require us to change aspects of our lifestyles and design of the city.
Short, intense bursts of rain cause flash flooding, he said, and that presents challenges for infrastructure in responding to that.
“We’ve been monitoring over the last couple of decades the impacts of climate change,”says counsellor Penny Hulse, who’s the chair of Auckland Council’s environment and community committee. “Over the last few years projects like Project Twin streams(an environmental restoration project in the Waitakere Ranges) have been instrumental in understanding how to manage floods in an urban area more in keeping with nature.
“The urban forest strategy will grow our urban forest in areas of higher density to cool these areas and provide shade."
And climate change has implications for our health too.
“As Auckland’s public health organisation we are preparing for the potential impact on people’s health of climate change in areas such as air pollution, increased temperature and water borne diseases,” Auckland District Health Board CEO, Ailsa Claire, said. “It’s vital therefore, that we have the data and information to do this work.”
The full report is available here: http://www.knowledgeauckland.org.nz/