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  • Wildfires are one of the major natural hazards facing the Australian continent. Chen (2004) rated wildfires as the third largest cause of building damage in Australia during the 20th Century. Most of this damage was due to a few extreme wildfire events. For a vast country like Australia with its sparse network of weather observation sites and short temporal length of records, it is important to employ a range of modelling techniques that involve both observed and modelled data in order to produce fire hazard and risk information/products with utility. This presentation details the use of statistical and deterministic modelling of both observations and synthetic climate model output (downscaled gridded reanalysis information) in the development of extreme fire weather potential maps. Fire danger indices such as the McArthur Fire Forest Danger Index (FFDI) are widely used by fire management agencies to assess fire weather conditions and issue public warnings. FFDI is regularly calculated at weather stations using measurements of weather variables and fuel information. As it has been shown that relatively few extreme events cause most of the impacts, the ability to derive the spatial distribution of the return period of extreme FFDI values contributes important information to the understanding of how potential risk is distributed across the continent. The long-term spatial tendency FFDI has been assessed by calculating the return period of its extreme values from point-based observational data. The frequency and intensity as well as the spatial distribution of FFDI extremes were obtained by applying an advanced spatial interpolation algorithm to the recording stations' measurements. As an illustration maps of 50 and 100-year return-period (RP) of FFDI under current climate conditions are presented (based on both observations and reanalysis climate model output). MODSIM 2013 Conference

  • This report provides background information about the Ginninderra controlled release Experiment 2 including a description of the environmental and weather conditions during the experiment, the groundwater levels and a brief description of all the monitoring techniques that were trialled during the experiment. Release of CO2 began 26 October 2012 at 2:25 PM and stopped 21 December 2012 at 1:30 PM. The total CO2 release rate during Experiment 2 was 218 kg/d CO2. The aim of the second Ginninderra controlled release was to artificially simulate the leakage of CO2 along a line source, to represent leakage along a fault. Multiple methods and techniques were then trialled in order to assess their abilities to: - detect that a leak was present - pinpoint the location of the leak - identify the strength of the leak - monitor how the CO2 behaves in the sub-surface - assess the effects it may have on plant health Several monitoring and assessment techniques were trialled for their effectiveness to quantify and qualify the CO2 that was release. This experiment had a focus on plant health indicators to assess the aims listed above, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of monitoring plant health and the use of geophysical methods to identify that a CO2 leak may be present. The methods are described in this report and include: - soil gas - airborne hyperspectral surveys - plant health (PhenoMobile) - soil CO2 flux - electromagnetic (EM-31) - electromagnetic (EM-38) - ground penetrating radar (GPR) This report is a reference guide to describe the Ginninderra Experiment 2 details. Only methods are described in this report with the results of the study published in conference papers and future journal articles.

  • In many areas of the world, vegetation dynamics in semi-arid floodplain environments have been seriously impacted by increased river regulation and groundwater use. With increases in regulation along many rivers in the Murray-Darling Basin, flood volume, seasonality and frequency have changed which has in turn affected the condition and distribution of vegetation. Floodplain vegetation can be degraded from both too much and too little water due to regulation. Over-regulation and increased use of groundwater in these landscapes can exacerbate the effects related to natural climate variability. Prolonged flooding of woody plants has been found to induce a number of physiological disturbances such as early stomatal closure and inhibition of photosynthesis. However, drought conditions can also result in leaf biomass reduction and sapwood area decline. Depending on the species, different inundation and drought tolerances are observed. Identification of groundwater-dependent terrestrial vegetation, and assessment of the relative importance of different water sources to vegetation dynamics, typically requires detailed ecophysiological studies over a number of seasons or years as shown in Chowilla, New South Wales [] and Swan Coastal Plain, Western Australia []. However, even when groundwater dependence can be quantified, results are often difficult to upscale beyond the plot scale. Quicker, more regional approaches to mapping groundwater-dependent vegetation have consequently evolved with technological advancements in remote sensing techniques. Such an approach was used in this study. LiDAR canopy digital elevation model (CDEM) and foliage projected cover (FPC) data were combined with Landsat imagery in order to characterise the spatial and temporal behaviour of woody vegetation in the Lower Darling Floodplain, New South Wales. The multi-temporal dynamics of the woody vegetation were then compared to the estimated availability of different water sources in order to better understand water requirements.

  • This report provides background information about the Ginninderra controlled release Experiment 1 including a description of the environment and weather during the experiment, the groundwater conditions and a brief description of all the monitoring techniques that were trialled during the experiment. Release of CO2 began 28 March 2012 at 10:30 AM and stopped 30 May 2012 4:15 PM. The total CO2 release rate during Experiment 1 was 144 kg/d CO2. Krypton gas was also released as a tracer gas at a rate of 10 mL/min Kr in one section of the release well only. The aim of the Ginninderra Experiment 1 controlled release was to artificially simulate the leakage of CO2 along a line source, to represent leakage along a fault. Multiple methods and techniques were then trialled in order to assess their abilities to: - detect that a leak was present - pinpoint the location of the leak - identify the strength of the leak - monitor how the CO2 behaves in the sub-surface - assess the effects it may have on soil ecology Several monitoring and assessment techniques were trialled for their effectiveness to quantify and qualify the CO2 that was release. The methods are described in this report and include: - soil gas - CO2 carbo-cap (GMP343) - eddy covariance - groundwater levels and chemistry - soil microbial samples - soil flux - krypton in air - electromagnetic (EM-31) - meteorology - CO2 isotopes in tank This report is a reference guide to describe the Ginninderra Experiment 1 details. Only methods are described in this report with the results of the study published in conference papers and future journal articles.

  • Changes in microbial diversity and population structure occur as a result of increased nutrient loads and knowledge of microbial community composition may be a useful tool for assessing water quality in coastal ecosystems. However, the ability to understand how microbial communities and individual species respond to increased nutrient loads is limited by the paucity of community-level microbial data. The microbial community composition in the water column and sediments was measured across tropical tidal creeks and the relationship with increased nutrient loads assessed by comparing sewage-impacted and non-impacted sites. Diversity-function relationships were examined with a focus on denitrification and the presence of pathogens typically associated with sewage effluent tested. Significant relationships were found between the microbial community composition and nutrient loads. Species richness, diversity and evenness in the water column all increased in response to increased nutrient loads, but there was no clear pattern in microbial community diversity in the sediments. Water column bacteria also reflected lower levels of denitrification at the sewage-impacted sites. The genetic diversity of pathogens indicated that more analysis would be required to verify their status as pathogens, and to develop tests for monitoring. This study highlights how microbial communities respond to sewage nutrients in a tropical estuary. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science

  • This presentation will provide an overview of geological storage projects and research in Australia.

  • The Walloon Coal Measures (WCM) in the Clarence-Moreton and the Surat basins in Qld and northern NSW contain up to approximately 600 m of mudstone, siltstone, sandstone and coal. Wide-spread exploration for coal seam gas (CSG) within both basins has led to concerns that the depressurisation associated with the resource development may impact on water resources in adjacent aquifers. In order to predict potential impacts, a detailed understanding of sedimentary basins hydrodynamics that integrates geology, hydrochemistry and environmental tracers is important. In this study, we show how different hydrochemical parameters and isotopic tracers (i.e. major ion chemistry, dissolved gas concentrations, 13C-DIC, 18O, 87Sr/86Sr, 3H, 14C, 2H and 13C of CH4) can help to improve the knowledge on groundwater recharge and flow patterns within the coal-bearing strata and their connectivity with over- or underlying formations. Dissolved methane concentrations in groundwaters of the WCM in the Clarence-Moreton Basin range from below the reporting limit (10 µg/L) to approximately 50 mg/L, and samples collected from nested bore sites show that there is also a high degree of vertical variability. Other parameters such as groundwater age measurements collected along distinct flow paths are also highly variable. In contrast, 87Sr/86Sr isotope ratios of WCM groundwaters are very uniform and distinct from groundwaters contained in other sedimentary bedrock units, suggesting that 87Sr/86Sr ratios may be a suitable tracer to study hydraulic connectivity of the Walloon Coal Measures with over- or underlying aquifers, although more studies on the systematic are required. Overall, the complexity of recharge processes, aquifer connectivity and within-formation variability confirms that a single tracer that cannot provide all information necessary to understand aquifer connectivity in these sedimentary basins, but that a multi-tracer approach is required.

  • The Australian Flood Risk Information Portal (the portal) is an initiative of the Australian Government, established following the devastating floods across Eastern Australia in 2011. The portal is a key component of the National Flood Risk Information Project (NFRIP), and aims to provide a single point of access to Australian flood information. Currently much of Australia's existing flood information is dispersed across disparate sources, making it difficult to find and access. The portal will host data and tools that allow public discovery, visualisation and retrieval of flood studies, flood maps, satellite derived water observations and other related information, all from a single location. The portal will host standards and guidelines for use by jurisdictions and information custodians to encourage best practice in the development of new flood risk information. While the portal will initially host existing flood information, the architecture has been designed to allow the portal content to grow over time to meet the needs of users. The aim is for the portal to display data for a range of scenarios from small to extreme events, though this will be dependent on stakeholder contributions. Geoscience Australia's Australian Flood Studies Database is the portal's data store of flood study information. The database includes metadata created through a purpose-built data entry application, and over time, information harvested from state-operated catalogues. For each entry the portal provides a summary of the flood study, including information on how the study was done, what data was used, what flood maps were produced and for what scenarios, as well as details on the custodian and originating author. If the study included an assessment of damage, details such as estimates of annual average damage, or the number of properties affected during a flood of a particular likelihood will also be included. During the last phase of development downloadable flood study reports and their associated flood maps have been added to the portal where available. As the portal is populated it will increasingly host mapped flood data, or link to flood data and maps held in authoritative databases hosted by State and Territory bodies. Mapping data to be made accessible through the portal will include flood extents and to a lesser degree information on water depths. The portal will also include water observations obtained from Geoscience Australia's historic archive of Landsat imagery. This data will show whether a particular location was 'wet' at some point during the past 30 years. While this imagery does not necessarily represent the peak of a flood or show water depth, the data will support the validation and verification process of hydrologic and hydraulic flood modelling. This work will prove useful particularly in rural areas where there is little or no flood information. The portal also provides flood information custodians with the ability to either upload mapped data directly to the portal or to make this data accessible via web services. Data management tools and standards, developed through NFRIP, will enable data custodians to map their data to agreed standards for delivery through the portal. A portal framework and supporting principles has been developed to guide the maintenance and development of the portal.

  • Monitoring is a regulatory requirement for all carbon dioxide capture and geological storage (CCS) projects to verify containment of injected carbon dioxide (CO2) within a licensed geological storage complex. Carbon markets require CO2 storage to be verified. The public wants assurances CCS projects will not cause any harm to themselves, the environment or other natural resources. In the unlikely event that CO2 leaks from a storage complex, and into groundwater, to the surface, atmosphere or ocean, then monitoring methods will be required to locate, assess and quantify the leak, and to inform the community about the risks and impacts on health, safety and the environment. This paper considers strategies to improve the efficiency of monitoring the large surface area overlying onshore storage complexes. We provide a synthesis of findings from monitoring for CO2 leakage at geological storage sites both natural and engineered, and from monitoring controlled releases of CO2 at four shallow release facilities - ZERT (USA), Ginninderra (Australia), Ressacada (Brazil) and CO2 field lab (Norway).

  • CO2CRC Symposium 2013: Oral presentation as part of a tag-team Ginninderra presentation As part of the controlled release experiments at the Ginninderra test site, a total of 14 soil flux surveys were conducted; 12 during the first experiment (March 2012 - June 2012), and 2 during the second experiment (October - December 2012). The aim was to determine what proportion of the known CO2 that was released could be measured using the soil flux method as a quantification tool. The results of this study enabled us to use the soil flux measurements as a proxy for other CO2 quantification methods and to gain an understanding of how the CO2 migrated within the sub-surface. For experiment one; baseline surveys were conducted pre-release, followed by surveys several times a week during the first stages of the release. The CO2 'breakthrough' was detected only 1 day after the release began. Surveys were then conducted weekly to monitor the flux rate over time. The soil CO2 flux gradually increased in magnitude until almost reaching the expected release rate (128 kg/day measured while the release rate was 144 kg/day) after approximately 4 weeks, and then receded quickly once the controlled release was stopped. Soil gas wells confirm that there is significant lateral migration of the CO2 in the sub-surface, suggesting that there was a degree of accumulation of CO2 in the sub-surface during the experiment.