Knowledge of how to adapt to climate change in Australia is celebrated this week as NCCARF comes to the end of its second phase of operation and officially launches CoastAdapt, a resource to support coastal managers as they seek to respond to climate risks.
NCCARF is the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, which has worked since 2008 to build the knowledge and capacity of decision makers to manage and adapt to the risks of climate change. Funding for phase 2 came from the Australian Government through the Department of Environment and Energy.
“In Phase 2, we have had a particular focus on the risks to Australia in the coastal zone,” explained NCCARF Director, Jean Palutikof.
“If you are based in the coastal zone, you need to be thinking about your exposure and your risks and how you can respond. To support this thinking, we developed CoastAdapt, an information delivery and decision support framework.”
Released in 2016, CoastAdapt includes all the information required for coastal communities to plan for rising sea levels, however it also links to broader climate change resources that are relevant to Australia more broadly.
Professor Palutikof said CoastAdapt had been well received by a range of groups that had an interest in the coastal zone.
“Local councils, from Tasmania to the Tiwi Islands and many places in between, are using CoastAdapt to begin or improve their adaptation planning,” she said.
“Groups as diverse as airports, credit unions and oyster growers are engaging with NCCARF and CoastAdapt to build plans that they can apply to adapt their region, communities, ecosystems and businesses to climate impacts.
“We are building networks across Australia where none existed in the past. We have also continued our work on preparing for climate change in other areas of Australia. We have developed information products on topics including heatwaves, storms, floods and bushfire that are useful for government and business, planners, finance officer and engineers among others.”
Four National Adaptation Networks that are coordinated by NCCARF — Natural Ecosystems; Settlements and Infrastructure; Vulnerable Communities; and Social, Economic and Institutional Dimensions — have reached almost 4000 researchers and practitioners through knowledge-sharing events, newsletters and social media.
“A very successful project undertaken by the Adaptation Networks has been to better understand the impacts of climate change on homeless people,” said Professor Palutikof.
“This work is the subject of a photography exhibition that opens in Adelaide on Friday (May 19) called ‘Under the weather: images of climate change from the streets’.”
Other achievements of NCCARF are hosting a national conference series on climate adaptation in partnership with CSIRO and granting awards to National Adaptation Champions in business, community and individual categories.
The Centre, based at Griffith University’s Gold Coast campus, also picked up an award for CoastAdapt at the Australian Coastal Awards.
The celebration will take place in Melbourne on May 17.