COASTADAPT : An Australian Coastal Decision-Support System for Climate Change Adaption

Thursday 16 February 1.00pm

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Seminar Room 438 | School of Civil Engineering | The University of Sydney


Anticipating the cost of climate change on Australian coasts.

With over 80% of the Australian population living near the coast, climate change is likely to incur significant economic and social costs. The estimated replacement cost of residential buildings at risk of flooding under a 1.1 m sea level rise scenario is $63 billion. In addition, sea-level rise threatens other economically significant industries and infrastructure systems, including ports, the fishing and seafood industries and tourism. In order to help these coastal organisations to understand these risks and take adaptation actions, the Australian government has commissioned the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) to develop a coastal climate change risk management information portal/tool named CoastAdapt (a beta version of this national tool is now available online). The talk will introduce different features of CoastAdapt specifically data, maps and guidance on climate change risk assessment and adaptation planning and also demonstrate a practical case study where an infrastructure operator (North Queensland Airport) has used CoastAdapt to identify climate change risks of their assets. Presentation will also discuss challenges faced and lessons learned during design and implementation of this national product and highlight how a “user-centric design” was ensured through consultation and testing with potential end-users of the tool.

About CoastAdapt: CoastAdapt covers every aspect of adaptation to climate change and sea-level rise, from basic climate science through to data, guidance and tools to assess climate change risks of coastal infrastructure, legal considerations, potential engineering solutions, role of insurance, approaches to evaluating costs and benefits, as well practical case studies of adaptation. It provides maps and visualisations to understand risks from sea level rise. It also includes a decision support system named Coastal Climate Adaptation Decision Support (C-CADS) which is an iterative risk management framework that takes users through a series of steps and provides guidance on adaptation planning. A ground-breaking aspect of CoastAdapt has been the extent to which potential users have been involved in its design and implementation. This includes consultation and user testing with a whole range of stakeholders (advisory groups from the three tiers of government, infrastructure operators and business interests etc.). On top of that, more than 200 experts (national as well as international) from multiple sectors were involved in developing and reviewing different components of CoastAdapt.

Speaker: Dr Fahim Tonmoy is the Coastal Zone Specialist at National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) which has been funded by Australian government to build Australia’s capacity in climate change adaptation research. NCCARF aims to bridge the gap between climate change knowledge producers (researchers) and end-users (practitioners) in order to support different organizations (government, NGOs and the private sector) to build resilience to climate change. Fahim completed his PhD at the School of Civil Engineering of the University of Sydney in 2014 and worked there as a post-doctoral researcher for a year. Before his PhD, Fahim has worked in UK and Bangladesh as a professional civil engineer. Fahim is the recipient of 2013 NSW coastal management award by Australian Coastal Society.