Climate change adaptation in the Australian Alps: Impacts, strategies, limits and management
Authors: C. Morrison and Catherine Pickering
A stong awareness of climatechange occurring and identifying its impacts exists among stakeholders within the Australian Alps due, primarily to the fairly direct links between increasing temperatures and decreasing precipitaiton and natural snow cover. Data also shows that changes have already occurred in the region, including reduced natural snow cover, changes in fire frequency and intensity, changes in the timing of biological events such as flowering, animal migration/movement, and in plant and animal distributions. Planning for change, utilising a range of climate change adaptation strategies, and acknowledging a wide range of biophysical, economic and social limits to those strategies is also well demonstrated in the region. For example, while snow-making is the primary climate change adaptation response by the tourism industry, it will not be economically, physically or socially acceptable in the future. While stakeholders were capable of identifying a wide range of climate change impacts, a major gap identified in current stakeholder assessment of climate change is the importance of the Alps catchment nationally, particularly the importance of its water for Australias economy ($10 billion/annum for actual water and products from industries reliant on water supplies from the Alps).