Coastal councils are already adapting to rising seas – we’ve built a website to help


Sarah Boulter, Griffith University

The wild storms that lashed eastern Australia earlier this year damaged property and eroded beaches, causing millions of dollars’ worth of damage. As sea levels rise, the impact of storms will threaten more and more homes, businesses and services along the coastline.

CSIRO projections suggest that seas may rise by as much 82cm by the end of the century. When added to high tides, and with the influence of winds and associated storms, this can mean inundation by waters as high as a couple of metres.

As a community, we have to start deciding what must be protected, and how and when; where we will let nature take its course; how and if we need to modify the way we live and work near the coast; and so on. Many of these decisions fall largely to local governments.

We have launched a website to help local councils and Australians prepare for a climate change future. CoastAdapt lets you find maps of your local area under future sea-level scenarios, read case studies, and make adaptation plans.

How will sea-level rise affect you?

Using sea-level rise modelling from John Church and his team at CSIRO, CoastAdapt provides sea-level projections for four greenhouse gas scenarios, for individual local government areas. This also provides a set of inundation maps for the selected local government area.

Sydney’s possible sea level in 2100 under a worst-case scenario. Inundated areas shown in pale blue.
NCCARF

The inundation maps (developed by the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information) show the average projected sea-level rise for a particular climate change scenario, combined with the highest tide. The method provides an approximation of where flooding may occur.

Because water is simply filled onto the map according to elevation, it doesn’t account for things like estuary shapes and water movement, the behaviour of waves and so on.

Brisbane’s possible sea level in 2100 under a worst-case scenario. Inundated areas shown in pale blue.
NCCARF

But both the maps and the sea-level projections are a useful way to start thinking about where risks may lie in any given local government area.

CoastAdapt also looks at what we know about coastal processes in the present day. Understanding these characteristics helps us understand where and why the coast is vulnerable to inundation and erosion.

For instance, sandy coasts are much more vulnerable to erosion than rocky coasts. The information will help decision-makers understand the behaviour of their coasts and their susceptibility to erosion under sea-level rise.

Darwin’s possible sea level in 2100 under a worst-case scenario. Inundated areas shown in pale blue.
NCCARF

Local councils already adapting

Adaptation is already happening on the ground around Australian local councils. We have highlighted several of these on CoastAdapt.

In the small seaside town of Port Fairy in southeast Victoria, for example, an active community group is monitoring the accelerated erosion of dunes on one of their beaches. The council and community have worked together to prioritise protecting dune areas with decommissioned landfill to prevent this rubbish tip being exposed to the beach.

Other councils have already undertaken the process of assessing their risks and drafting adaptation plans.

Low-lying areas in the City of Lake Macquarie already experience occasional flooding from high seas. This is expected to become more common and more severe.

Lake Macquarie Council has successfully worked with the local community to come up with 39 possible management actions, which the community then assessed against social, economic and environmental criteria. The area now has a strategy for dealing with current flooding and for gradually building protection for future sea-level rise.

This approach has engaged community members and given them the opportunity to help decide the future of their community.

Melbourne’s possible sea level in 2100 under a worst-case scenario. Inundated areas shown in pale blue.
NCCARF

Getting prepared

What stumps councils and other coastal decision-makers is the scale and complexity of the problem. Each decision-maker needs to have some sense of the risk of future climate change to their interests, then develop plans that will help them to cope or adapt to these risks. Planners and adaptors must navigate uncertainty in where, when and how much change they must consider, and how these changes interact with other issues that must be managed.

To better understand the risk, decision-makers need access to timely, authoritative advice presented in ways and levels that are useful for their needs. This is particularly true for an issue such as climate science, which is technically complex.

Climate projections, particularly at the local level, come with a level of certainty and probability. The further we look into the future, the more extraneous factors are unknown – for example, will global policy succeed in bringing down greenhouse emissions? Or will these keep increasing, which will necessitate planning for worst-case scenarios?

Add to this the questions around legal risk, financing adaptation measures, accommodating community views and so on, and the task is daunting.

That’s the thinking behind CoastAdapt – the first national attempt to create a platform that brings together a range of data, tools and research that have been developing and growing over the last decade. As well as maps and case studies, we’ve also built an adaptation planning framework (Coastal Climate Adaptation Decision Support) and set up an online forum for people to ask questions, exchange ideas and even pose questions to our panel of experts.

The author would like to acknowledge the work of staff of the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility. CoastAdapt is in beta version and is seeking feedback. The final version will be released in early 2017.

The Conversation

Sarah Boulter, Research Fellow, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Griffith University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Website: Tree Day


The link below is to a site where you can find a location to take part in Tree Day 2012 (Australia). Tree Day is the 29th July 2012.

For more information visit:
http://treeday.planetark.org/find-a-site/

Tents: With a Difference


The links below are to an article and a company website relating to some rather odd tents.

For more visit:
http://gizmodo.com/5891646/this-hammock-tent-is-like-a-swanky-hanging-three-bedroom-apartment/
http://www.tentsile.com/index.html

Our New Look


The New Year has begun and what a great way for the Blog to celebrate the New Year – with a brand new look!

Some of the changes you may have noticed on the Blog include the following:

– The overall theme and appearance of the Blog has been given a major overhaul, with a fresh, new header image. It has taken a little bit of work to get the image right and hopefully you like it. The banner image also includes a bit of self promotion, with the website address appearing on it.

– The sharing options on for each post now include buttons for Tumbler, LinkedIn and Google+

– There is also an option for rating each Blog article.

I am always looking at ways to improve the Blog and 2012 will be no different. Hopefully there will be more regular and better quality articles on the way, with other improvements to the Blog pages and features as well. All this to come in 2012 and beyond.

Check In: Day 3 of Holiday


Today was spent chiefly at Dorrigo National Park, where I spent nearly 5 hours on a bushwalk through the wilderness surrounding the Never Never Picnic Area. This is a spectacular area within the Dorrigo National Park. I could quite easily have spent far more time there trekking up both Sassafras Creek and Rosewood Creek. These are some wild streams that cut there way through the heart of the national park. Given all of the recent rain in the region, they were truly at their best today.

The new camera got a work out today, but I am not completely sold on it – though as a camera for panoramic photos it is fantastic and well worth buying for that function alone. The photo I have included with this post is of Rosewood Creek directly above Coachwood Falls. It is a brilliant place and very wild indeed.

I did pick up several leeches throughout the day, with one attaching itself to me just below the left knee. It wasn’t found for some time and had a good feed and I a good bleed after it was removed. Several more were found in my socks but they weren’t able to force their way through.

I’ll be working on the various photos and videos over the next week or so and putting together various packages for the website, Flickr, YouTube, the Blog, etc. There are some really terrific photos and videos among them. Hopefully today’s shot will whet the appetite for the rest of them.

 

Check In: Day 2 of Holiday


I have had a most interesting couple of days on the road and in the bush. Currently I’m in a motel room at Woolgoolga, near Coffs Harbour on the mid-north coast of New South Wales, Australia. ‘Hardly the wild,’ I hear you say, and you’re quite right – it isn’t. The weather was beginning to change I noticed on the final leg of my day’s itinerary, so I decided to hide out in a motel room for the night – good decision, it’s pouring outside.

I won’t give all away – I’ll leave the main description of the holiday to the website – but just some of the ‘downlights’ of the first couple of days for this post.

I didn’t arrive at Cathedral Rock National Park until just on dark, but did get the tent up prior to darkness arriving – when it did, it was dark! The campfire took an eternity to get going as all of the timber was damp and by the time I got it started it was time for bed – all-be-it an early night (7.30pm). I had decided to not spend the money on replacing all of the gear I needed to replace for camping, following the loss of a lot of gear over the years due to storage, etc. I hadn’t done much in the way of bushwalking or camping for years due to injuries sustained in my car crash and a bad ankle injury, so I left it all a bit late. I figured that for this holiday I’d make do and replace the gear with quality gear before the next trip. In short, I’ll get by – but it would have been nice to have some good gear just the same. It was a very cold night let me tell you – and long.

When I reached the heights of my first walk today, standing on top of Cathedral Rock National Park, my digital camera decided to die on me. I knew there was something wrong with it during the ascent as it was really chugging away taking pictures. I did get a couple of reasonable panoramic shots on the top of Cathedral Rock before it died, so that was good. I took stills with the video camera I was using, so it wasn’t a complete loss. When I completed the Woolpack Rocks walk I made the trip to Coffs Harbour to seek a replacement and got one for a reasonable price. It’s just another compact and so I will also buy a digital SLR prior to my next trip I hope. My previous SLR was basically destroyed when the camera cap came off during a multiple day bushwalk and all manner of stuff got into it. It wasn’t digital so I didn’t bother repairing it.

So tomorrow – off to Dorrigo National Park I hope and several lengthy walks I haven’t done before. Hopefully the rain will clear.

 

Wildlife: Adopt an Animal with WWF


World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has come up with a novel way to raise funds for animals they are seeking to protect. Supporters are able to adopt an animal from a selection on their website. There are a number of options for adopting animals, including the type of animal you would like to adopt, who you would like to adopt the animal for and what you will receive in consequence of an adoption. This idea may not be a bad idea for a gift perhaps?

For more visit:
http://onlineshop.wwf.org.au/adopt-an-animal.html