Noosa Biosphere Climate Action Project:


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Community Adaptation Workshop in Peregian Beach Community House, 3 March 2011

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Noosa Biosphere Climate Action Project:

  1. 1. “I think we have a very brief window of opportunity to deal with climate change – no longer than a decade, at the most….”If we continue with business as usual, “we will be producing a different planet.” Dr. James Hansen Director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies Photos: Noosa Integrated Catchment Association, Inc. September 14, 2006
  2. 2. What is climate change?A change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability over comparable time periods. Climate Change in Queensland: What the Science is Telling Us
  3. 3. What is adaptation? Adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic changes or their effect, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities. (Queensland Government, 2010)Climate Change in Queensland: What the Science is Telling Usttp://
  4. 4. Adaptation“… preparing for the impacts and managing the risks of climate change that is already committed to by past emissions and those in the near future”. (CSIRO 2006)
  5. 5. The IPCC: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2500+ SCIENTIFIC EXPERT REVIEWERS 800+ CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS AND 450+ LEAD AUTHORS FROM The IPCC’s work is generally considered the 130+ COUNTRIES most conservative and 6 YEARS WORK reliable assessment of 1 REPORT climate change science available today.The 2007 Fourth Assessment Report concludes:“Warming of the climate system is unequivocal. Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely [90%] due to the observed increase in anthropogenic [human] greenhouse gas concentrations.”
  6. 6. The Joint Science AcademiesAll industrialized countries have a scientific body made of the best and brightest scientists in their fields: i.e. The UK’s Royal Society and Australia’s Australian Academy of Science. Collectively, these entities are often called the “joint science academies”.In 2005, the Joint Academies’ climate change statement noted:"The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action” and it called on world leaders to "acknowledge that the threat of climate change is clear and increasing.“In terms of economic costs, it called on leaders to "recognize that delayed action will increase the risk of adverse environmental effects and will likely incur a greater cost."
  7. 7. Recent climate research Climate Change in Queensland: What the Science is Telling Us
  8. 8. Climate change research Developing a national coastal adaptation agenda is a recent report produced by the National Climate Change Forum held in 2010. “Early planning can ensure we take a measured and cost-effective approach to managing the impacts of coastal climate change, allowing the economy and our society to adjust positively over time.” Greg Combet, Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency
  9. 9. Climate change research Climate Change in Queensland (2010) offers a detailed review and update on the latest climate science and what it means for Queensland. It provides an in-depth analysis drawing on a review of more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers published in the last three years.Climate Change in Queensland: What theScience is Telling Us
  10. 10. Observed sea-level rise around the Australian coastline: 1990-2008 “… there are some things we’re very clear about. We know the sea level is going up, we know temperatures are going up, we have a high degree of confidence in some regions that things are drying. So we can use that understanding of the climate system to be making decisions now”. Dr Andrew Ash, CSIRO Source: Developing a National Coastal Adaptation Agenda 2010 Coastal communities and adaptation5/03/2011 13 Kate English
  11. 11. SLR global average projections for 2100 There has been a growing concern that sea-level rise at the upper end of the IPCC estimates is plausible by the end of this century. A rise of more than 1.0 metre and as high as 1.5 metres cannot be ruled out. ‘there’s a whole range of evidence that shows that the climate system is moving faster than we would have thought about a decade ago’ Professor Will Steffen, ANU Source: Developing a National Coastal Adaptation Agenda 2010 Coastal communities and adaptation 5/03/2011 14 Kate English
  12. 12. Sea-level rise projections to 2350Dr John Church (CSIRO) : ‘If we don’t start acting now [to reduce greenhouse gas emissions], we won’t be arguing about 50cm or 80cm of sea-level rise, we’ll be talking about metres, and the impact on the coasts, on all of the councils, on all of the society around Australia, will be much larger’. Source: Developing a National Coastal Adaptation Agenda 2010 Coastal communities and adaptation5/03/2011 15 Kate English
  13. 13. Frequency of high sea-level events A moderate rise in sea level will also have a significant multiplying impact on the frequency of high sea-level events. By 2030, what are now 1-in-100 year storm tide events could become 1-in-20 year events, and by 2070 such events would be an almost annual occurrence. Source: Developing a National Coastal Adaptation Agenda 2010 Coastal communities and adaptation5/03/2011 16 Kate English
  14. 14. Climate extremes: storm surgesA storm surge is a rise above the normal water level along a shore that is theresult of strong onshore winds and /or reduced atmospheric pressure.Storm surges accompany a tropical cyclone as it comes ashore. They may alsobe formed by intense low-pressure systems in non-tropical areas.
  15. 15. Noosa’s futurestorm tide eventsExtreme Events:Increase in extremeevents with the Noosa1-in-100 year storm tideevent projected toincrease by 42 cm df/regionsummary-seq.pdf
  16. 16. Observed and Projected Climate Variables
  17. 17. Noosa’s future climateTemperature:An increase in up to 1.8 degrees Celsius by 2050Rainfall:A decrease in annual rainfall by up to 13%Intensive rainfall events:A increase of up to 30% thus increasing localfloodingHeatwaves: An increase in heatwave duration and intensityDroughts:More frequent periods of droughtCyclones:An increase in the peripheral effectsfrom tropical cyclone activityincluding storm surge and more intensivewind speeds Photo: Noosa Integrated Catchment Association, Inc.
  18. 18. The IPCC, in its 2007 FourthAssessment Report, cites onlytwo “vulnerability hot spots” in allof Australia.SEQ is one of them.Why is the Sunshine Coast so vulnerableto climate change impacts?
  19. 19. Climate change + population growth +urban development = “vulnerability hot spot”
  20. 20. Noosa’s summer temperatureSunshine Coast region (mean summer temperature) Noosa region: 27.8 - 29 degrees Celsius Baseline (1990) Summer Temperature Source: IPCC SRES SimCLIM
  21. 21. Noosa’s future summer temperatureSunshine Coast region(Mean summer temperature, worst case scenario) 2050 2100 Noosa region: Noosa region: 30.3 to 31.5 31.5 to 34 Celsius Celsius IPCC SRES: Hadley GCM, A1FI Emissions Scenario, High Sensitivity
  22. 22. Noosa’s future temperatureIncrease in temperature and projections that“Tewantin may have nearly four times the number ofdays over 35 degrees Celsius by 2070.”(Currently 3 days/year, projected up to 11 days/year)
  23. 23. Climate ExtremesExtreme weather events occur within the climate’s natural variability.The effects of climate change will be superimposed on natural climate variability, leading to changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.
  24. 24. Climate ExtremesRecent observations show that an increasing number ofextreme weather events can be attributed to human-induced changes in the climate system (QCCCE 2010).For example, an increase in the Noosa 1-in-100 yearstorm tide event projected to increase by 42 cm(ClimateQ 2009).Extreme weather events fromclimate change have thegreatest potential impacton human and natural systems.
  25. 25. Impacts fromNoosa’s changing climate
  26. 26. What impacts will Noosa’s vulnerable Photo: Warren Scanlon coastal communities experience?Photo: Ben Fitzgibbon
  27. 27. Climate change research The National Climate Change Forum: Adaptation Priorities for Australia’s Coasts sought to commence a dialogue with coastal decision-makers on the national coastal adaptation agenda. Around 200 senior decision-makers attended the Forum including representatives from many local governments (including many mayors and councillors), state, territory and Australian governments and departments, regional coastal boards, academic institutions and industry groups.eloping-national-coastal-adaptation-agenda.pdf
  28. 28. Frequency of high sea-level events By 2030, what are now 1-in-100 year storm tide events could become 1-in- Professor Will Steffen (ANU): 20 year events ‘the total number of cyclones By 2070 such events would be an almost annual occurrence may actually decrease but the number of intense ones, Frequency and magnitude of extreme category three to five, may weather events may also be altered, increase’. For rainfall including tropical cyclones, rainfall distribution ‘we may get less distribution and wind, with subsequent changes in wave climates rainfall [in some areas] but it and storm surge. appears that the rain is coming in more intense events’. Source: National Climate Change Forum: Adaptation Priorities for Australia’s Coast Report 2010 Coastal communities and adaptation5/03/2011 32 Kate English
  29. 29. Future SLR and local planning decisions Even after atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations are limited , sea levels will continue to rise beyond 2100 because of:  The lag between atmospheric and ocean warming  The time required for icesheets to melt and  The momentum in the climate system. Planning schemes: The timeframe of hundreds of years is relevant to the lifespan of some major pieces of infrastructure and to decisions on the location of major urban areas. Source: Developing a National Coastal Adaptation Agenda 2010 Coastal communities and adaptation5/03/2011 33 Kate English
  30. 30. Australian infrastructure within 200 metres of the coastline Coastal infrastructure impacts include inundation and accelerated degradation of materials and foundations for our ports, airports and roads. This includes saltwater intrusion into all asset -- pipes, sewerage treatment plants, etc. Source: Climate Change Risks to Australia’s Coasts 2009. Coastal communities and adaptation5/03/2011 34 Kate English
  31. 31. Between 157,000 and 247,000 existing residential buildings at risk from a 1.1 metre sea-level rise Climate Change Risks to Australia’s Coast report (2009): “the replacement value of residential buildings alone from a sea-level rise of 1.1.m is up to $63 billion (2008 value).” Coastal communities and adaptation5/03/2011 35 Kate English
  32. 32. Early Action vs. Delay While communities require improved information in order to understand and plan for climate change risks, this should not be used as a reason to delay taking action. ‘… the core of climate science is exceptionally well known with a high degree of certainty, and this is enough to act on’ Professor Will Steffen, ANU Coastal communities and adaptation5/03/2011 36 Kate English
  33. 33. Benefits of Early Action Well planned early action can help alleviate some of the future cost burden of action. Example: Mornington Peninsula Shire’s $3 million/year coastal works adaptation planning budget “It’s saving money if we do some of these works now, versus the long term costs… In the case of our Shire, an additional $3 million is now budgeted each year for flood and erosion works, to prepare for the extreme weather events”. Mayor David Gibb, Mornington Peninsula Shire Coastal communities and adaptation5/03/2011 37 Kate English
  34. 34. National sea-level rise benchmarks The House of Representatives Committee Standing Committee on Climate Change, Water, Environment and the Arts 2009 report recommended national guidance for coastal land-use planning in the context of climate change, particularly in setting sea-level rise benchmarks. Different benchmark heights could be identified for decisions with varying planning horizons or asset value. ‘The rate of projected rise in sea level is critical for estimating the severity of potential impacts… and we recommended that the government consider the benefits of adopting a nationally consistent sea-level rise planning benchmark’ Jennie George, former MP and Chair of HoR Standing Committee Coastal communities and adaptation 5/03/2011 38 Kate English
  35. 35. Local impacts,local and national responsesThe Australian Government’s Adapting to Climate Change in Australia, identifies its role as: providing national science and information to support adaptation planning leading in areas of national reform maintaining a strong and flexible economy and ensuring climate change considerations are addressed in its own programs and assets.‘The impact of climate change will be felt at local and regional scales and adaptation needs to happen at those scales but we also need to have the appropriate top-down responses because we do run the risk if it’s all bottom- up they’ll lack consistency’ Dr Andrew Ash, CSIRO Coastal communities and adaptation5/03/2011 39 Kate English
  36. 36. Communicating climate risk Many people in coastal communities may not yet see the direct impacts of climate change to their lives. The challenge now is how to better communicate science findings and risks when direct changes cannot yet be observed. ‘the great problem we face is a disconnect between the weight of global scientific opinion and a very confused public’. Professor Tim Flannery Coastal communities and adaptation5/03/2011 40 Kate English
  37. 37. Successful community engagementon adaptation  Mornington Peninsula Shire Council’s Climate Change Conversations which began with a series of meetings where residents were asked “What do you think is going to happen and what should we do about it?”  Byron Bay Shire encouraged older residents to share their stories about the storms, the floods, the things that they’ve experienced which led to discussions about what would happen if those events happened now or were more extreme. Coastal communities and adaptation5/03/2011 41 Kate English
  38. 38. Successful community engagementon adaptation  NSW king tide photography project of 2009 was highly effective in improving awareness by visually highlighting potentially vulnerable areas along its coast. Coastal communities and adaptation5/03/2011 42 Kate English
  39. 39. What are the otherimportant impacts facingresidents of Noosa?
  40. 40. Economic impacts
  41. 41. Economic impacts
  42. 42. Safety impactsPolice urge road safety amid floodsPosted April 5, 2009Police on south-east Queenslands Sunshine Coast say road conditions in the area will continue to be dangerous as more rain falls over the next few days. The body of a 78- year-old woman was found yesterday after her car was swept from a flooded roadway north of Kin Kin in the Sunshine Coast hinterland on Thursday night.
  43. 43. Agricultural impacts• Shorter growing season• Increased decomposition of soil organic matter• Depletion in soil fertility (native N stocks)• Decline in soil structure• Reduced soil cover• Loss of crops due to severe flooding
  44. 44. Health Impacts heat stress other heat-related illness (affecting the heart, blood vessels and lungs) trauma from extreme weather events mental illness in areas affected by long-term drought and other natural disasters respiratory problems from airborne pollutants infectious diseases such as gastroenteritis dengue fever and Ross River virus due to changes in the distribution of disease-carrying mosquitoes.
  45. 45. Given the current risks anduncertainties from climatechange, what is the mostprudent thing to do?Implement a climatestrategy with meaningfuladaptation and mitigationmeasures and actions. Photos: Noosa Integrated Catchment Association, Inc.
  46. 46. What is adaptation? Adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic changes or their effect, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities. (Queensland Government, 2010) Climate Change in Queensland: What the Science is Telling Us ttp://
  47. 47. Adaptation“… preparing for the impacts and managing the risks of climate change that is already committed to by past emissions and those in the near future”. (CSIRO 2006)
  48. 48. Adaptation can be implemented by: setting measurable actions building the adaptive capacity of stakeholders monitoring an evolving, dynamic process that is tailored to a particular set of circumstances integrating science, policy, planning and management to meet stakeholders’ needs in addressing climate variability and change issues as they relate to specific locations and conditions