The impacts of a changing climate are complex. In many cases, predictive science and modelling are the only ways to gain early warning of potential catastrophic impacts, including sea level rise, species range shifts and changes to the ecology and interdependencies of species. Modelling and analytical tools are used to improve our understanding of the impacts of climate change and adaptation strategies on natural resources.
A monitoring network helps us understand recent changes and track future changes. Long-term monitoring sites from Fowlers Bay to the Victorian border enable departmental coastal geomorphologists, scientists and engineers to investigate the impact of a changing climate and rising sea levels on beaches, coastal lakes, wetlands and saltmarshes.
The department is collaborating with the University of Adelaide in the TREND project, which provides a system and a network for climate change monitoring in South Australia in terrestrial (natural and production) and marine systems. It will provide SA with a climate change early warning system and a legacy of long term monitoring, contributing to the development of the necessary tools to adapt to climate change.
The department also contributes to landscape analysis of the potential impacts of large-scale tree planting on natural resources in response to a potential national carbon market. Much of this landscape modelling is underpinned by the State Land and Soil Information Framework, which is the storehouse of spatial data that includes the soil and land attribute data sets and soil characterisation data.