Improving Australia's flood record for planning purposes - can we do better?

Allen, K.J., Hope, P., Lam, D., Brown, J.R., and Wasson, R.J. (2020) Improving Australia's flood record for planning purposes - can we do better? Australasian Journal of Water Resources, 24 (1). pp. 36-45.

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Abstract

Extreme rainfall is projected to increase with climate change, but the impact of climate change on floods is uncertain. Infrastructure design based on information available from short gauged time series (typically similar to 30 - 80 years) may not take account of the full range of possible flood events, or be suitable for identifying non-stationarity. Australian palaeoflood and palaeo-hydroclimate records drawn from a wide variety of natural archives and documentary sources suggest that Australia has been subjected to larger flood events in the past; a pluvial period for eastern Australia in the eighteenth Century is particularly note-worthy. If the current infrastructure is inadequate for past floods, it is unlikely it will adequately mitigate future floods. We discuss how improved awareness, and incorporation, of palaeoflood records in risk estimates could help guide infrastructure planning and design, flood event prediction and inform flood mitigation policy. This is particularly relevant for Australia with its notoriously variable hydroclimate.

Item ID: 64130
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2204-227X
Keywords: Floods, palaeofloods, infrastructure design risk
Copyright Information: © 2020 Engineers Australia
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes (CECE)
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2020 07:37
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410404 Environmental management @ 40%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410199 Climate change impacts and adaptation not elsewhere classified @ 60%
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