Coast will host climate conference
THE Gold Coast is playing host to more than 150 scientists from nearly 50 countries who have gathered to gain a better handle on how weather and climate disrupt the global supply of energy.
The CSIRO's Alberto Troccoli said the biggest challenge facing the conference is finding the best ways of reducing the impact multi-billion dollar weather events have on the energy industry.
"The number of weather-related catastrophes has increased markedly in the past 30 years," Dr Troccoli said.
"Climate science is being called on to provide an information buffer around which risk to infrastructure and supply can be managed."
The head of the CSIRO's weather and energy research unit said rising temperatures, changing wind patterns and more intense storm activity are all expected with climate change.
While weather catastrophes are an obvious risk to energy sources like solar, hydro and wind power, Dr Troccoli said they can also hit oil, gas and even nuclear generators.
He warns as demand for uninterrupted power supply increases around the globe, our energy systems will become more vulnerable.
"In Australia alone there have been several recent examples of impacts including flooded coal mines and sub-stations, reduced hydro-storage levels, and cuts to city and rural power supplies lasting hours or days," he said.
"Weather and climate have direct effects on all aspects of the life cycle of energy systems, but indirect effects through other economic sectors such as water management and agriculture also are important."
Dr Troccoli said the flow of information to the energy sector about major weather events was not always efficient and immediate, even though companies were trying hard to minimise the risk of anything limiting or halting their production.