Letter to the Editor: Impacts of climate change on rainfall, and consequences for marine and coastal systems

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Dear MEAM:

I am writing in response to "Tundi's Take: Using Science to Plan for Climate Change" in your December 2009/January 2010 issue. For near-shore marine systems and estuaries, it is critical to understand the impacts of climate change on rainfall, both patterns and precipitation rates, and the consequences of changing freshwater flows and pollution loads into our marine and coastal systems. This will be another important area for science to provide understanding.

Here in South East Queensland, Australia, our increasing understanding of these impacts has allowed us to prioritize investment in rural and urban catchment management to improve the resilience of our coastal systems. Science has led this investment through developing spatial optimization tools for riparian restoration works; understanding the impacts of urban flows on aquatic ecosystem health; developing decision support tools to model catchment and receiving waters' response to sediment and nutrient loads; and guiding the regional ambient and event monitoring of freshwater, estuarine and marine waterways.

This science then needs to be interpreted, synthesized and communicated effectively and in a timely way to managers. One of our main communication products is an annual report card on aquatic ecosystem health derived from the ambient monitoring program and released by our independent Scientific Expert Panel. For us, more effective management is achieved through strong linkages with our science community.

Diane Tarte
Project Director, SEQ Healthy Waterways Partnership, Queensland, Australia. E-mail: ditarte [at] ozemail.com.au; Web: www.healthywaterways.org

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