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Phase 2 of SEACI

Phase 2 of SEACI was a $9 million partnership that began in July 2009 and concluded in September 2012. The program of research for Phase 2 of SEACI built on the outcomes of Phase 1 SEACI research, in which progress was made on understanding climate impacts and developing predictions for the region. It delivered important answers on critical climate questions arising from the region of south-eastern Australia.

Phase 2 addressed key research questions through three linked research themes. Through these themes and their associated milestones, the program delivered a holistic and integrated understanding of climate change and climate variability across south-eastern Australia to support water managers and policy makers.


Theme 1: Understanding past hydroclimate variability and change in south-eastern Australia

Research in Theme 1 contributed to a better understanding of the Millennium drought and of the factors that influence variability and trends in the climate of south-eastern Australia. The projects evaluated the Millennium drought in the context of the historical record, analysed changes in global atmospheric circulation and its impacts on south-eastern Australian climate and, analysed the record 2010/11 and 2011/12 floods in the context of the aforementioned projects.


Theme 2: Long-term hydroclimate projections for south-eastern Australia

Research in Theme 2 provided updated projections of climate and streamflow for south-eastern Australia for 1° C and 2° C of global warming. The climate change projections from Phase 1 were updated using improved methods for determining the impacts of a changing climate on future water availability. The project also examined how key hydrological processes changed during the Millennium drought and how they may similarly change under a future drier climate, the sensitivity of runoff to changes in a range of factors including temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and assessed a range of downscaling techniques for rainfall-runoff models and river system models.


Theme 3: Seasonal hydroclimate predictions in south-eastern Australia

Research in Theme 3 assessed and improved the skill of models to produce useful seasonal forecasts of both rainfall and streamflow across south-eastern Australia. Additionally, it further developed modelling approaches and assessed the utility of seasonal forecasts, to improve the skill of hydrological modelling for south-eastern Australia. The improved model for operational streamflow forecasting was adopted by the Bureau of Meteorology for use on its website.


Climate and water availability in south-eastern Australia: A synthesis of findings from Phase 2 of the South Eastern Australian Climate Initiative (PDF, 8.74 MB) provides a summary of the key SEACI Phase 2 research findings.