Recent news and media releases
The impact of sea-level rise in South Dunedin
Scientists are busy searching the ground beneath South Dunedin, but it will be a while before the data presents a clear picture about the area's future.
GNS Science is involved with several projects including the NZ SeaRise Programme and collaborations assessing the impact of sea-level rise in South Dunedin.
Some preliminary results were presented at a recent community hui in South Dunedin, but scientists say much more work is needed.
However, it would take work over the next 12 months to fully understand exactly what that meant for groundwater and seismic issues.
GNS and the Dunedin City Council have also started to evaluate the relationships between sewer and stormwater pipe networks the degree to which they control the level of groundwater, and how this changes in different tides and storms.
A full range of seasonal records was needed, so many of these projects would take years to complete.
The rising sea and the reshaping of New Zealand
New Zealanders love the coast. We’ve spent decades building stuff hard up against it - underground and on the land. But it’s getting too close. Right now, the sea is advancing on the tens of thousands of people who live within 50cm of the high tide mark. And it won’t stop.
As the climate warms, the sea will rise, likely with increasing speed. It is not a matter of if, or when, but how fast.
Sea-level rise is certain because there's a clear, historical link between a warmer climate and higher seas. The cause is two-fold: The ocean is warming, and water expands when it's warm, a process called thermal expansion. The other is that land-based ice - mostly glaciers and ice-sheets - has melted dramatically, transferring water once tied up on land into the sea. In Antarctica, where much of the world's land-based ice is found, around 2.7 trillion tonnes of ice has melted into the ocean since 1992, according to recent research.
Two researchers on the NZ SeaRise Programme, Dr Rob Bell, a coastal oceanographer at NIWA and Dr Judy Lawrence, a climate change researcher at the Victoria University of Wellington, and other researchers discussed the sea-level rise around New Zealand.
Digging for geological clues
Deep beneath a South Dunedin sports field, scientists hope to find the answers to the area's geological history and discover clues to its future.
A joint drilling programme between the Otago Regional Council and GNS Science, is also part of the nationwide NZ Sea Rise project, which scientists hope will provide a better understanding of what sediment lies beneath coastal Dunedin, started yesterday.