01 Sep Luke Kidd
Luke Kidd, Australia
Luke is a Senior Environmental Engineer of BMT WBM with 15 years of experience in the field of environmental engineering, natural resource management and environmental impact assessment. Luke has practiced and managed projects relating to catchment and receiving water quality modelling, flooding, hydrology, aquatic ecology, GIS and spatial modelling and environmental planning. Luke has applied this knowledge to technical studies and environmental assessments for various project types and settings. Luke routinely works with other engineers, scientists and ecologists on multidisciplinary projects requiring coordination, management and synthesis of information from a range of engineering and scientific disciplines.
Presentation Title: A spatio-temporal assessment of the impact of climate change on hydrological refugia in Eastern Australia using the Budyko water balance framework
Hydrological refuges provide important ecosystem services for wetland flora and fauna across much of inland Australia. However, the location and nature of these refuges varies in time, from seasonal through to multi-year cycles. Furthermore, it is uncertain as to how anthropogenic climate change may impact on the nature of these refugia and the ecosystems that depend on them. Therefore, in this study we develop a distributed hydrological model based on the Budyko water balance framework to assess runoff and soil moisture variability through space and time. The model is applied at two environmentally significant Ramsar wetlands located in New South Wales and Victoria (Macquarie Marshes and Barmah Forest). We then couple this with high resolution climate change projections from the NARCLiM project to assess the potential impacts of climate change on the two wetlands in the near (2030) and far (2070) future. Despite the high degree of variability among climate models, median climate change projections for the Macquarie Marshes suggest a decrease in local runoff and soil moisture, especially on the western margins. Similarly, the direct local runoff around the Ramsar site of the Barmah Forest is projected to experience a decrease by approximately 60% (median climate change scenario). Whilst ecological responses to reduced flow are likely to be varied, wetland and floodplain dependent vegetation communities and fauna groups, (particularly waterbirds and fish), that rely on flows to trigger key life cycle events, such as spawning and germination, may be particularly vulnerable. Importantly, the methodology developed and employed in this study can be applied to other hydrological problems to readily assess historical and future hydrological variability for other catchments and hydrologic refugia in eastern Australia.