Module-3

Determining the physical response of estuaries to changes in the climate and ocean boundary conditions

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Module-2 introduced methods for estimating likely changes in the climate and ocean boundary conditions of estuaries (i.e. rainfall and sea level rise). However, estuaries are highly dynamic and complex systems and each estuary will have a unique physical response to these changes, depending on its geomorphologic regime and hydrologic setting.

Estimating the likely physical and chemical response of estuaries to changes in the climate and ocean system often requires some form of modeling.  Module-3 provides an overview of available modeling approaches, their respective data requirements as well as their advantages and disadvantages. It also provides a conceptual model that can be used to generate a first-pass estimate of the physical response of estuaries to different climatic stressors.

Module-3 addresses the following questions:

  • What are the available modelling approaches?
  • What are the available data sets
  • What is the likely response of different types of estuaries to different climatic stressors?
  • How can changes in the climate be prioritised based on their relevance for estuaries?
  • What are the key changes in climate faced by estuaries in NSW?