Key Findings: Storm Tides along East-Coast Australia

Authors: Peter Helman, Christine Metusela, Frank Thomella and Rodger Tomlinson
Year: 2010

This factsheet presents the key findings of a project conducted to understand adaptation lessons from a case study on the major storm tides and storm surges affecting Australias east coast during a particularly stormy period throughout the 1950s until the mid-1970s. Focusing on the adaptive responses of three coastal communities Gold Coast (QLD), Byron Bay (NSW) and the Collaroy-Narrabeen regions (NSW) – this project found that low impact storms may now present an even greater risk of significant impacts to these communities than they did in the past. This is due to a number of factors, including: the rapid development of beach-front areas, lack of coastal accretion, and a relaxing of planning and community attitude towards such risks since the 1970s. The factsheet examines the evolution of responses, from ad hoc individual measures, to coordinated policy development following the stormy period of the 1950s – 1970s. The factsheet contains further information on the scale of the disaster, the impacts of the events, adaptation during and after the events, vulnerability pre and post the event, the successes and failures of the events management, and lessons learnt. This study is one of a suite of Historical Case Studies of Extreme Events conducted under Phase 1 of the NCCARF Synthesis and Integrative Research Program to examine present-day management of climate variability and the lessons that can be learnt for adaptation to future climate change.

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