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NEWS / Climate adaptation and Australia's ports: An NCCARF study
Category: Latest News, Transport & Communications


Image: Port Jackson, Sydney, NSW. Credit: Sean Mack: CC by 3.0

Unsurprisingly for a continent-sized island, seaports are vital to Australia’s trade and economic prosperity. In order to ensure that these ports remain resilient in the face of climate change, the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) investigated the climate readiness of Australia’s ports in order to help them to integrate of climate change into decision-making processes. The project produced a series of reports detailing the risks to ports infrastructure, and developing tools to assist decision-making by port workers. 

Released five years ago, the project remains one of the most comprehensive investigations of climate change impacts into port operations. The project produced four main reports: 

  1. Understanding future risks report: provides a technical analysis about future climate and non-climate risks likely to affect port operations; The report highlights some of the many challenges involved when assessing the risks that Australian ports need to contend with; not only contributing to the knowledge-base but also providing detail of an integrated assessment methodology that can be replicated for other cases.

  2. Adaptation guidelines report: identifies priorities for operational decision-making about climate change adaptation for seaports; this adaptation guidance document distils some of the key research findings from each of the project work packages in support of climate change adaptation decision-making. It finds that identifying risk is not a purely quantitative evaluation; it also involves qualitative decisions about the importance of the identified risks and which risks should be taken into account. Due to cascading impacts, it is also necessary for ports to consider risks in partnership with key logistics providers and local governments.

  3. Functional resilience report: provides a technical analysis about logistic and related factors that may affect the resilience of seaports in a changing climate. The report presents a methodological framework for systematically identifying the vulnerability of port assets, infrastructure, and logistics operations to weather-related impacts and future climate change in the context of Australian ports; and 

  4. Structural resilience report: provides a technical analysis about structural factors that may affect the resilience of seaports in a changing climate. The report identifies which port infrastructure elements are affected by climate change, investigates the deterioration mechanisms relevant to these structural components, and forecasts the rate of deterioration of structures over a period for which climate scientists could provide the necessary projections.


More information about NCCARF’s Climate resilient seaports project can be found here.