Understanding and Mitigating Hazards

Project Status:

This project will develop a methodology to quantify the impact and risk of coincident and clustered disasters on the coast, with an initial focus on storm surge, associated erosion and reshaping of the coastline and the resulting inundation and damage to buildings and infrastructure.

Coastal communities in Australia are particularly exposed to clustered disasters due to the impact of cyclones and tropical storms when there can be a coincidence of severe wind damage, storm surge, coastal flooding and erosion. Because the climatic drivers of cyclones and severe storms are stronger during specific times, these events often repeatedly impact the coast over periods of weeks, months, or up to a few years. The consequences of individual events are therefore exacerbated with little or no opportunity for recovery of natural systems or communities.

The processes that drive the coincidence or clustering of natural disasters are reasonably well understood. However, there is as yet no clear methodology in use to quantify the elevated risk to communities from clustered or coincident events. Typically, risk assessments are based on individual hazards against a long-term frequency baseline. This is misleading as it underestimates the true impacts of coincident or clustered events on the resources and resilience of communities.

Coastal communities are particularly sensitive to clustering because of the dynamic nature of the coast. Coastal landforms provide the physical foundation of coastal communities, as well as potentially forming natural protection to those communities.

This project is developing a methodology to quantify the impact and risk of coincident and clustered disasters on the coast, with an initial focus on storm surge, associated erosion and reshaping of the coastline, and the resulting inundation and damage to buildings and infrastructure.

The study is focusing on two case studies: Old Bar beach in New South Wales, and the beaches of metropolitan Adelaide.

The project has focused on refinement of project objectives with end-users, selection of study sites, desktop data collection and analysis, and field work.

Research outputs to date include two publications in the Journal of Coastal Research and three conference papers.

While the work focuses on particular study sites, for research utilisation, results and outputs will be able to be generalised to all other areas where storm surge impacts are a significant issue.

Coastal sediment compartments data was published by Geoscience Australia in 2015 in various geospatial file formats and then later online. This nationally-consistent data and classification provides a mapping framework to support coastal management at a range of scales, and guide the selection of approaches for modelling shoreline response. Users can now ingest the data directly into their own analysis systems.

16 August, 2016
New journal articles and reports on CRC research are available online.
CRC sign
23 May, 2016
New journal articles and reports on CRC research are available online.
17 May, 2016
A series of videos, now available, highlight some of the benefits of CRC research and the problems that the science is trying to solve.
Undertaking storm surge research at a NSW beach. Photo: Geoscience Australia
12 November, 2015
An update on research progress from projects in the Coastal Management cluster.
3RRR
17 June, 2014
Einstein A Go-Go, a weekly science radio show, has featured new Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC research over the last two weeks.
Resilience to clustered disaster events on the coast - storm surge
25 Aug 2014

Coastal communities in Australia are particularly exposed to disasters resulting from the coincidence of severe wind damage, storm surge, coastal flooding and shoreline erosion during cyclones and extra-tropical storms. 

Key Topics:
Resilience to Clustered Disaster Events on the Coast - Storm Surge
18 Aug 2015

The aim of the project is to develop a new method to quantify the potential hazard associated with coincident and clustered disaster events on the coast, with an initial focus on storms that erode and reshape the coastline and impact on buildings and infrastructure. To date, a range of baseline data has been identified and collected for two study sites where eroision is an active management issue; Adelaide metropolitan beaches (SA) and Old Bar (NSW mid-north coast).

Uriah Gravois Conference Poster 2016
12 Aug 2016

This project will produce probabilistic assessments of coastal erosion and inundation risks associated with storm surge, particularly for events that are clustered in time

Key Topics:

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