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Making our Models Climate Change Ready

Launched in 2017, the Queensland Water Modelling Network (QWMN) supports research and development to improve the State’s capacity to model its surface water and groundwater resources and their quality through investment in strategic research and development priorities and building whole of sector capability.

One of the QWMN’s research and development priorities is climate change and variability. This priority underpins the QWMN project ‘A Critical Review of the Treatment of Climate Change in Water Models in Queensland’ which was commissioned to examine how climate change is reflected in Queensland catchment and water models and to identify priorities for action and investment.

The use of water models in understanding the impacts of climate change is of key interest to government agencies, industry, academia and the community. The review undertaken by this project has linkages to not only Climate Change but also to the other QWMN R&D priorities of Landscape Restoration and Redesign, Water Planning, Integration and Management, and Model Management.

Led by Alluvium and involving CSIRO and the University of Newcastle, the Critical Review involved a review of relevant literature, targeted interviews and individual case studies through a multiple lines of evidence approach. Part of the project comprised the development of a draft set of evaluation criteria to provide a systematic and objective assessment framework. The intent was to provide a ready reckoner for modellers and decision makers to understand the ability of particular models to answer key questions associated with existing climate variability and future climate change.

The draft selection criteria have now been developed by Alluvium into a stand-alone resource comprised of evaluation criteria and a scoring system to help assess the readiness of water models to account for or incorporate climate change in their use. The resource, suitable for use by practitioners in reviewing a model’s treatment of climate and to support decision makers, is now complete and will be made available for download from the DES website shortly.

The resource will support a consistent assessment of a water model’s treatment of climate change elements, contributing to the objective identification of strategic research and development climate change priorities across Queensland’s suite of models. The framework is also suitable for use by non-climate experts such as policy officers or modellers, both internal and external to Government.

A link to the final product will be posted on the QWMN webpages and will be freely available for sharing and use.

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