Coastal modelling of sea level rise for the Christchurch coastal environment
Predictive modelling provides an efficient means to analyse the coastal environment and generate knowledge for long term urban planning. In this study, the numerical models SWAN and XBeach were incorporated into the ESRI ArcGIS interface by means of the BeachMMtool. This was applied to the Greater Christchurch coastal environment to simulate geomorphological evolution through hydrodynamic forcing. Simulations were performed using the recent sea level rise predictions by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2013) to determine whether the statutory requirements outlined in the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010 are consistent with central, regional and district designations. Our results indicate that current land use zoning in Greater Christchurch is not consistent with these predictions. This is because coastal hazard risk has not been thoroughly quantified during the process of installing the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority residential red zone. However, the Christchurch City Council’s flood management area does provide an extent to which managed coastal retreat is a real option. The results of this research suggest that progradation will continue to occur along the Christchurch foreshore due to the net sediment flux retaining an onshore direction and the current hydrodynamic activity not being strong enough to move sediment offshore. However, inundation during periods of storm surge poses a risk to human habitation on low lying areas around the Avon-Heathcote Estuary and the Brooklands lagoon.
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