Climate scientists predict no traffic due to submerged roads
FORGET our towns going underwater - because climate change is set to play havoc with North Coast roads long before Ballina and Byron Bay become submerged.
Climate scientists have produced an interactive map which reveals the impacts of a 2C and 4C rise in global average temperatures on sea levels across the globe.
Peer reviewed research
Even with extreme carbon cuts by 2020, 2C is considered "locked-in" so the map's vision of the future is the least of what we can expect.
The map is based on peer-reviewed research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
The scientists cannot predict when the sea level rises will occur except that they won't happen before 2100.
But even at a 2C rise, however, the sea levels along the North Coast reveal a radical impact on our lives.
Ballina and Woodburn islands
For a start, all roads into Ballina are underwater, making it a "real" island. That includes Ballina airport, too, so you won't be able to fly in or fly out.
Large swathes of the Pacific Highway including expensive new sections such as the Ballina bypass, are also in the blue.
The east bank of the Richmond River south of Ballina around Empire Vale, currently home to huge cane fields, is covered by water.
Woodburn, like Ballina, becomes an island, its roads east, south, north and west completely cut off.
No traffic headaches
Up in Byron Shire, well some good news - there will be no more Ewingsdale Rd headache traffic, because Ewingsdale Rd ceases to exist. Too much of it is simply underwater.
Also, New Brighton is no more, South Golden Beach reverts to a swamp, and low-lying areas of Brunswick Heads and Mullumbimby are gone.
But that's just the start.
A 4C rise, which would equate to sea level rises of 7-8m and is considered all but certain if we opt to make only minor carbon cuts, would be disastrous.
In this scenario, most population centres across the coast are underwater - Mullumbimby, Brunswick Heads, Byron Bay, Suffolk Park, Lennox Head, Ballina, Evans Head, Woodburn, Coraki - just to name a few.
Lismore and Casino, in the hinterland, are spared. Although most roads into Lismore barring the Bruxner Highway are underwater.
Kyogle stays high and dry.