Sea Level Rise


Sea level rise is caused by two factors related to global warming: the added water from melting ice caps and the expansion of sea water as it warms. About 93% of the excess heat produced by greenhouse gases is absorbed by the ocean, which results in an expansion of ocean volume through thermal expansion.

Imagine our land is like a cookie floating on top of a cup of tea. Some areas of the cookie, or our land, are sinking into the ocean (or tea!), whilst others are floating up. All areas of land globally are responding differently to these changes in sea level. 



  • Increased coastal erosion and flooding will impact housing and infrastructure close to the coast. It’s anticipated that some properties will be severely damaged or even become uninhabitable
  • The estimated replacement cost of residential buildings at risk of flooding under 1.1m sea-level rise is as much as $63 billion (Department of Climate Change 2009).
  • Coastal erosion will increasingly threaten our  beaches and other coastal ecosystems. Their ability to retreat landward depends on what is currently behind them and if they can move quick enough to keep up! 
  • Higher storm surges that will affect our infrastructure, industries and the environment. Infrastructure won’t last as long and will need to be built to higher standards. 
  • Threats to economically significant industries and infrastructure including ports, the fishing and seafood industry and tourism - where will we go if our favourite beaches are lost to the sea? 
  • Flooding will have serious impacts on estuaries, rivers, lakes and lagoons bringing with it damage to biodiversity and landscapes

For more information on rising sea levels, please visit the Queensland Government's State of the Environment website.

What Council is doing

The Council’s Coastal Hazard Adaptation Study is working on an economic analysis of the cost of implementing approaches to address coastal hazards at our region’s coastal settlements. This plan will be updated every five years to ensure it stays relevant and up to date with the changes in sea level rise. Read more on the Council's website.