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Dr. Fahim Tonmoy  (Griffith University, Australia)

Title: CoastAdapt: a climate change adaptation decision support system for Australia’s coastal managers

Host: Dr. Samiul Hasan


Australia’s coastline is exposed to climate change and sea-level rise impacts from erosion, inundation, and changes to storm tracks and intensity. It accommodates about 80% of the population. Around 250 local councils are responsible for coastal management, with very different capacities to undertake adaptation. A decision support framework was developed to support coastal managers seeking to understand present-day and future climate change, its impacts and possible response options. The extensive engagement was undertaken with practitioners before commencing the design and at all stages of the build, in order to ensure usefulness and usability. The resulting framework, CoastAdapt (coastadapt.com.au), provides comprehensive guidance and support, including the understanding of climate change science, expected impacts, and adaptation options. It contains datasets on historical flooding; present-day coastal sensitivity to erosion; and future climate extremes, sea-level rise, and inundation for each coastal council. A risk management framework supports users through the six stages of adaptation from identifying the challenges through to monitoring and evaluation. The performance of CoastAdapt has been evaluated through 11 6-week test cases with coastal managers in the public and private sectors. In 2018, over 100K users have accessed CoastAdapt.

The talk will introduce different features of CoastAdapt specifically data, maps and guidance on climate change risk assessment and adaptation planning and also demonstrate practical use cases how organizations such as airports, financial institutes have used CoastAdapt to identify climate change risks of their assets and operation. The presentation will also discuss the challenges faced and lessons learned during design and implementation of this national product and highlight how a “user-centric design” was ensured through consultation and testing with potential end-users of the tool.

Biographical Note: Dr. Fahim Tonmoy is a Research Fellow at the Griffith University in Australia. His appointment is across multiple institutes inside Griffith, School of Engineering and Built Environment, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) and Cities Research Institute (CRI). Fahim is also an Adjunct Lecturer at the Civil Engineering School of the University of Sydney.

Fahim works at the interface between engineering and policy and his main research interest has been developing tools and decision support systems for helping coastal decision makers to understand climate change risks and vulnerabilities, and plan for adaptation. He is also interested in coastal hazard modeling, urban resilience, and infrastructure interdependency modeling.

Fahim has a track record of managing consulting projects that focus on evaluating climate change risks in multiple sectors (health, emergency management, transport, financial organizations, local governments) through stakeholder engagement, data analysis, and research.

Fahim completed his PhD at the School of Civil Engineering of the University of Sydney in 2014 and worked there as a post-doctoral researcher for a year. Before his PhD, Fahim has worked in UK and Bangladesh as a professional civil engineer. Fahim is the recipient of ‘2013 New South Wales Coastal Management Award’ by Australian Coastal Society and ‘2017 Australian Coastal Award for Coastal Research by Australian Coastal Councils’.  

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