Environment Climate change software helps keep houses afloat

Climate change software helps keep houses afloat

Some of Australia’s most important buildings and roads could go from waterfront to water-logged as climate change kicks in but which locations are most at risk?

A new calculator from the University of Tasmania is helping provide the answer.

Global warming is tipped to raise sea levels by as much as 80cm over the next century, leading to a dramatic increase in flooding.

It may be too late to turn back the tide but at least we can predict how high it will go, thanks to the University’s new software model, developed in partnership with the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Research Centre.

Dubbed Canute after the legendary Viking king said to have ordered the seas to retreat, it allows councils, planners and engineers to model the likely impact zone of floods and erosion.

More than 550 local governments and engineering firms are already using the calculator to estimate how high and how far back from the shore buildings and infrastructure need to be to stay dry.

It works by combining data from tide gauges with storm surge modelling and estimates of future sea level rise, giving a prediction of the likely extent of inundation from the sea in a given area.

Unlike King Canute, whose bid to control sea level ended in wet royal feet, it is hoped the software that carries his name will help save lives and billions of dollars through better coastal planning.