Natural hazards in Australia: sea level and coastal extremes

Abstract

The Australian coastal zone encompasses tropical, sub- and extra-tropical climates and accommodates about 80 % of Australia’s population. Sea level extremes and their physical impacts in the coastal zone arise from a complex set of atmospheric, oceanic and terrestrial processes that interact on a range of spatial and temporal scales and will be modified by a changing climate, including sea level rise. This review details significant progress over recent years in understanding the causes of past and projections of future changes in sea level and coastal extremes, yet a number of research questions, knowledge gaps and challenges remain. These include efforts to improve knowledge on past sea level extremes, integrate a wider range of processes in projections of future changes to sea level extremes, and focus efforts on understanding long-term coastline response from the combination of contributing factors.

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Acknowledgments

The lead author, MH and RH acknowledge the Australian Climate Change Science Program for funding this research. RR is supported by the AXA Research fund. This paper was a result of collaboration through the ‘Trends and Extremes’ working group as part of the Australian Water and Energy Exchanges Initiative (OzEWEX).

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Correspondence to Kathleen L. McInnes.

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This article is part of a Special Issue on “The effect of historical and future climate changes on natural hazards in Australia” edited by Seth Westra, Chris White and Anthony Kiem.

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McInnes, K.L., White, C.J., Haigh, I.D. et al. Natural hazards in Australia: sea level and coastal extremes. Climatic Change 139, 69–83 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-016-1647-8

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Keywords

  • Wave Height
  • Couple Model Intercomparison Project Phase
  • Southern Annular Mode
  • Western Australia
  • Wave Climate