Australian Government

AUS$2.8m to help our Australian coasts adapt to climate change

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Source: Australian Government

The Rudd Government is providing AUS$2.8 million for three new projects to help Australia’s ulnerable coastal communities plan for the effects of climate change. Announcing the projects in Fremantle today, Minister for Climate Change and Water, Senator Penny Wong, said adapting to the unavoidable effects of climate change is a priority under the Government’s climate change policy.

“Acting on climate change is all about doing the responsible thing for the economy and for the future,” Senator Wong said.
“Already, more than 700,000 residences across Australia are estimated to be at threat from the effects of climate change including storm surges and extreme weather events. “Between Fremantle and Mandurah, an estimated 28,000 buildings and 641 km of road are at risk from erosion due to rising sea levels.

“These figures demonstrate that the longer we delay taking action on climate change, the more it will cost.” Senator Wong said the projects announced today would gather robust scientific information to help coastal communities better prepare for and adapt to the impact of climate change.

The three projects are:
· $2 million to develop a high resolution ‘Digital Elevation Model’ for coastal urban areas to map the inundation risks from climate change in priority urban areas such as Perth, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.
· $310,000 to develop an interactive web-based tool to enable planners, engineers and policymakers incorporate projections of high sea-level events into their planning codes.
· $479,000 to develop a tool to project how climate change affects variations in offshore wave characteristics by combining climate modelling and spectral wave modelling.

“As well as preparing for climate change we can’t avoid, we have to tackle climate change by reducing greenhouse emissions. Central to this is a new emissions trading scheme,” Senator Wong said.

“We need to change the way the economy works, to move it from a high emissions economy to a low emissions economy.
“Taking action on climate change will be very hard, but we have already had too many years of neglect and delay. Further delay is economically irresponsible.”

BACKGROUND
Digital Elevation Model (Funding: $2 million)
A high resolution Digital Elevation Model will map priority urban areas (including Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth) around Australia to underpin the assessment of inundation risks from climate change.
Sea level rise and increased storm surge are a major risk to settlements and infrastructure. The highresolution Digital Elevation Model builds on the Government’s current mid-resolution digital elevation model investment which identifies areas of likely exposure to climate change risks. High resolution digital airborne imagery together with advanced analysis techniques will help identify which infrastructure and areas of high population density are at most risk.

The project will be implemented in collaboration with key national organisations such as the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information, the Australia and New Zealand Land Information Council, Geosciences Australia, CSIRO, and relevant state government agencies and commercial terrestrial mapping and monitoring companies. Estimating Sea Level Extremes Web Tool (Funding: $310,054) This project will help establish an interactive web-based tool that will provide information on projected changes in high sea level events for the Australian coastline.

It will help planners, engineers and policymakers estimate the probability that a given sea level will be exceeded during any prescribed period. This will help inform planning decisions around Australia’s coastline – so coastal communities are able to plan appropriate strategies for adaptation to sea level rise and its impacts. Investigation of climate change driven variations in offshore wave climate along the Australian coast (Funding: $479,000)

For the first time, a tool capable of projecting how climate change affects variations in offshore wave characteristics will be developed by combining climate modelling and spectral wave modelling.

This research project will help establish a benchmark modelling methodology to project the potential magnitude and frequency of how climate change impacts such as inundation may affect our coastlines during extreme weather events.
The project will be developed in partnership with relevant national and international scientific research bodies as well as the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change.

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