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Counting the coast: Modeling the oceans of a warming planet

Climate modeler Dr Kathy McInnes describes what mathematical modeling can tell us about the effects of rising sea levels and extreme weather events on our coastlines.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

SHANE HUNTINGTON
I'm Dr Shane Huntington, thanks for joining us. As land dwelling mammals it's very easy for us to forget that 70 per cent of our planet's surface is water. The oceans and seas that ebb and flow on our shores, including near our cities, are constantly changing. Their behaviour is intimately connected to the land masses they touch and the atmospheric conditions above them. The oceans regularly remind us about their power and variability. We have seen mighty storm surges caused by those shifting atmospheric conditions over the planet's oceans. The devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina on the city of New Orleans in 2005 is hard to forget. Now we must add to the experience of these extreme weather events the prospect of rising sea levels, induced by increasing global temperatures. So how do we predict storm surges and the coastal damage that these events can cause? As the climate changes how will these potential threats also change? Do we have the scientific capacity to make meaningful predictions at all given the daunting complexity of our oceans and the climate systems that influence them? Today on Up Close we speak to Dr Kathleen McInnes, a climate modeller who is trying to...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.