Illustrating Uncertainty in Climate Change with variable Flood Levels in Arc Scene sand VTP

by Bang Tran, Sovann Prey, and Taisha Waeny

According to the Gippsland Coastal Board final report, 2009 “Little doubt now remains that global climates are changing. It is, however; important to distinguish between ‘natural’ variability in weather patterns caused by phenomena such as El Nino (Southern Oscillation), which causes extended periods of below average rainfall in south eastern Australia on a semi-cyclic basis, and climate change resulting from human-induced changes to atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. The drought experienced in Gippsland over recent years was more closely related to a mild El Nino event (BoM, 2007) than a direct manifestation of global climate change, although it may, to a small extent be exacerbated by an ‘overprint’ of changed global climatic conditions”.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established in 1988 by the United Nations' Environment Program and the World Meteorological Organization. It is responsible for providing the international community with authoritative advice on scientific, technical and economic issues relating to climate change.

The aim of this research is to visually illustrate the uncertainty in Climate Change flood zones for three cases with differing water flood levels at 1m, 2m and 3m using 3D Modeling. This was chosen in response to the pressing issue of uncertainty within Climate Change.




This technique of visualization is comprehensive enough that the local authorities and people can understand it and see what will happen when the sea level reaches the respective levels. Although there are some uncertainties in the data and in the techniques used, it is obvious enough to encourage authorities and residents to take preventative action before the damage happens as indicated in the map

The models show what kind of flood rise can be expected and what possible implications it may have. The models all clearly show what can be anticipated in a certain area of Gippsland at a Sea level rise of 1, 2 and 3 meters. These visualizations are important for the community of Gippsland as well as any local authorities and policy makers as they graphically show potential scenarios. This means that the models can be used as a way of implementing any preventative measures such as sand barriers or retaining walls. Another possibility would be to raise the level of the ground in the flood prone areas.


The Gippsland coast is rich and diverse in natural and cultural values. The coast also supports settlements and townships that vary considerably in the size and distribution along the coast. Physical assets associated with these built up areas range from isolated boat ramps and jetties to valuable private properties fronting prime foreshore land.

Climate change, sea level rise and coastal subsidence all have the very real potential to significantly impact on the Gippsland coast, affecting both natural values and built infrastructure, on private and public land.

A vital component of adequate risk management involves being able to make balanced decisions regarding the most appropriate action, based on the magnitude of the risk, its consequences, the cost of taking action and the preparedness of the community to both pay for action and ‘forego private rights’. The key step towards being able to make informed and consistent decisions is for the Government to provide clear policy direction regarding anticipated climate change and sea level rise impacts through proclaiming a statutory sea level rise and/or erosion setback, depicted as an overlay or development control in municipal planning schemes. Local Government will therefore need considerable support from State and Commonwealth Government to enable adequate planning and risk management tools be incorporated into decision making frameworks.

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