Prioritising changes in the climate and ocean systems

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This module provides guidance on estimating the potential changes in climate and ocean boundary conditions that will be faced by estuaries in the near and far future.  It presents an introduction to climate change and climate science along with methods for prioritizing changes based on climate projection data. This module addresses the following questions.

  • What is climate change and what are the main causes?
  • What are climate models and emission scenarios and how are they used to project the future climate?
  • How can changes in the climate be prioritised based on their relevance for estuaries?
  • What are the key climatic changes faced by estuaries now and in the future?

Assessing climate change in estuaries requires a robust understanding of how projections of future climate are generated and how the severity of change can be derived from these projections.  This guide uses climate projections from the New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory Regional Climate Modelling (NARCliM) project, and illustrates how statistics and extreme indices can be applied to prioritize change in the climate system based on their deviation from historic variability envelopes (see Box 2-2A below as an example).