As climate change and its potential effects are becoming better understood by society, there is an increasing need to assess those effects which may have severe implications for the natural and built environment. In particular, the threat of sea level rise has unprecedented potential to significantly alter the Australian coastline. Three-dimensional computer modelling has been chosen as a means of simulating the extent of inundation that sea level rise could have on a section of land in the suburbs of Windang and Primbee, Wollongong, NSW. The subject land is topographically unique for the Wollongong area in that it is bordered on the east by the Pacific Ocean and on the west by Lake Illawarra. This distinctive location leaves the land highly vulnerable to sea level rise on the east and, since the lake is fed by the ocean, subsequent rise in the level of the lake to the west. This project uses the ArcGIS software program to generate and display digital elevation models (DEM) from airborne laser scanning (ALS) data to represent topography. Further, theoretical height values are used create triangular irregular networks (TIN) which represent set sea level rise increments, all of which are the basis of an analysis procedure. Additionally, animations were created with the purpose of conveniently and effectively conveying the fundamental visual content of this project. This study applies three-dimensional modelling to the Lake Illawarra area in order to assess the suitability of this technology in the context of sea level rise prediction and management. Many end-users will have a need to investigate the effects of sea level rise. This investigation has found that 3D modelling certainly has the potential to satisfy this need. However, a refinement of methodology and further investigation into more efficient computer software should be undertaken in order to optimise this technology’s potential
Figure: Context map describing Wollongong Local Government Council which includes Windang, Primbee and Lake Illawarra.
Linlin Ge & Lance Hazell