Australian and Vietnamese scientists to collaborate on climate change | Asia Pacific

Australian and Vietnamese scientists to collaborate on climate change

Australian and Vietnamese scientists to collaborate on climate change

Updated 11 December 2012, 22:19 AEDT

Australian and Vietnamese scientists are collaborating to help Vietnam cope with the effects of climate change.

The work will develop detailed weather and sea level projections for one of the countries most vulnerable to rising sea levels.

These will be used by the government for action plans for different regions.

Correspondent: Karon Snowdon

Speakers: Dr Jack Katzfey, leader of the Mesoscale Modelling Applications Team at CSIRO; Dr Nguyen Hien-Thuan, Director of Science and Training at Vietnam's Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Environment; Nguyen-quang Trung, PhD student from Hanoi's University of Science

SNOWDON: Vietnam has a lot of coastline and a lot of people who live along it and along the low lying Mekong delta. Dr Nguyen Hien-Thuan is the Director of Science and Training at Vietnam's Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Environment. She explains with temperature increases sea levels have risen by 20 centimetres in the past 50 years.

NGUYEN: In the past 50 years the temperature has risen about 0.5 degrees celsius and the sea level has risen about 20 centimetres. So Vietnam is an agricultural country and the majority of the population is engaged in agricultural production. So its a very serious problem for the country.

SNOWDON: The Ausaid supported scientific collaboration will help develop Vietnam's response to climate change by using CSIRO models. An expert in climate modelling, Dr Jack Katzfey is the leader of the Mesoscale Modelling Applications Team at CSIRO.

KATZFEY: Well the main objective of this project is to provide Vietnam with high resolution, more detailed and updated climate projections for the country so they can facilitate the effective climate adaptions they're trying to do.

SNOWDON: How well placed is Vietnam to adapt, cope or respond to the impacts it might be facing?

KATZFEY: Well its a difficult question. From the government's point of view they are dealing with it, they're making sure all the provinces have plans to deal with the expected climate change that might occur in the next century. But because its a developing country it also has just development issues to deal with. Its going to be a very challenging problem for Vietnam.

SNOWDON: An important part of the bilateral collaboration is the two month's training for four PhD students by CSIRO in Melbourne. Nguyen-quang Trung a PhD student from Hanoi's University of Science says he will be able to pass on what he learns.

NGUYEN-QUANG: Firstly I learn the new model from CSIRO. And I learn a lot of things about this and how to run a training option, and yes I can transfer my knowledge to my colleagues or my students.

SNOWDON: Dr Nguyen Hien Thuan says the new work will add to earlier studies by Vietnam's institutions. Then comes the hard job of mitigating climate change.

NGUYEN: This is not an easy answer because we need to have climate change scenario as a basic for development adaptation planning. But we also need capacity building and we also need to provide more legislation framework in order to apply all the measures to adapt to climate change.

SNOWDON: Its not the first scientific collaboration for Australia and Vietnam. Agriculture, water and forestry have a long history. Jack Katzfey says these first climate studies are urgent given the warnings of faster global warming from the recent UN climate talks in Doha.

KATZFEY: Yeah I mean as I say Vietnam is very vulnerable to sea level rises and and its also a tropical country so any increases in temperature or humidity is going to make life more difficult.

SNOWDON: What do you think of the prediction of a four degree rise? (in global temperatures)

KATZFEY: Well considering the emmissions that are going on and other factors I think yeah unless something else happens to change the trajectory that we're on I think its getting more and more likely.

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