The PRECISE Network: Dedicated to improving regional projections of potential extreme future sea-level rise.


The potential of regional extreme sea-level rise remains a key socioeconomic uncertainty for millions across the Asia-Pacific region due to the likely impacts on coastal erosion, inundation and for water resource management. Led by UNSW researchers, the PRECISE Network forms a multidisciplinary Asia Pacific wide network, designed to share, strengthen, and build our capacity in key research areas fundamental to reducing this uncertainty, and ensure effective communication with key stakeholders including government, industry and the public. 

  • Over the past century, global mean sea level (GMSL) has risen by about 16 cm (i.e. an average rate of 1.6 mm/year). Recently this rate has increased to around 3 mm/year, an effective doubling largely due to thermal expansion and the melting of glaciers worldwide. The latest IPCC (AR5) report indicated that in the absence of significant mitigation of greenhouse-gas emissions, sea level is expected to rise by approximately 0.2-0.8 m over the 21st century. 

    There is, however, considerable uncertainty in these global projections; recent research has suggested that these may be significant underestimates due to non-linear response of the Earth’s ice sheets to climate forcing. Additionally, regional sea-level rise is highly variable due to the combination of climate, the vertical movement of land, variations in the Earth’s gravitational field (due to varying water distribution across the oceans), the storage of water on land (due to damming and hydrological changes) and changes in ocean circulation. Therefore, despite marked advances in our understanding of the physical processes driving contemporary sea-level rise, the potential for extreme regional sea-level rise under future climate projections remains a subject of critical uncertainty. This is particularly acute across the Asia-Pacific region, with millions of people living within meters of current sea level and with key infrastructure situated in and around low-lying coastal regions. 

    Coastal erosion and inundation in action during a storm surge event at the site of a new domestic build in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia in 2016

    To address this global challenge, the PRECISE Network (Projecting potential Regional Extremes in sea level rise due to Climate, IsostaSy and ocean thermal Expansion) aims to build research cooperation and capacity in key areas of uncertainty in sea level projection. Led by Dr Chris Fogwill (ESSRC research group) and a multidisciplinary team of leading geoscientists from world-class institutions across the Asia-Pacific – including UNSW, ANU, University of Sydney, Victoria University of Wellington, University of Tokyo and the University of Wollongong – the PRECISE Network is ideally placed to transform research into this crucial topic across the Asia Pacific region. 

    By focusing on capacity building and networking with key stakeholders, the PRECISE Network will ensure an enduring legacy that will drive scientific advances and reduce uncertainty in regional sea-level rise projections. This will build Australia’s capacity to respond to environmental change and provide crucial information to key stakeholders across the Asia-Pacific region to inform risk-reduction strategies. 


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In this section

Australasian Biogeography and Natural Classification

Australasian Biogeography and Natural Classification (The Ebach Lab) is a biogeography and systematics research group headed by Dr Malte C. Ebach.

Geological Evolution, Ore Deposits, Exploration and Energy (GEODEE)

The GEODEE group has been informally running for a number of years and encompasses geological research undertaken at UNSW by current academics, visiting fellows and their students.

Human geography

Human geography is the human oriented arm of geography, the study of the Earth. In BEES, our research includes the study of the Earth, particularly during the Anthropocene, communities and cultures.

Palaeoanthropology Research Laboratory (PEARL)

Palaeoanthropology is the scientific investigation of human evolution focusing on evidence provided by the human fossil, archaeological and palaeoecological records.

Palaeoecology Lab

The ESSRC Palaeoecology Lab uses of a variety of palaeoenvironmental techniques to examine climate change/variability, human impacts and ecosystem response to such perturbations.

Prehistory and palaeoenvironment of Australia, New Guinea and the Pacific

Our research group is currently engaged in a field and lab-based program investigating the peopling of Sahul, settlement history, palaeoenvironment and resource use.

Rip current and surf hazard research

Since 2011, Professor Robert Brander, along with research colleagues and students within the School of BEES, have been working on both physical and social aspects of the beach rip current hazard.

Soil science

The soil science group at UNSW is involved with and interested in the use of ancillary data from remote and proximal soil sensors and their application to digital soil mapping.

The Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre

The Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre (MWAC) is a network of centralised cutting-edge facilities and expert staff that are open to the entire UNSW research community and beyond.

The PRECISE Network

The potential of regional extreme sea-level rise remains a key socioeconomic uncertainty for millions across the Asia-Pacific region due to the likely impacts on coastal erosion, inundation and for water resource management.


UNSW IceLab provides high-precision water chemistry analysis and fluorescence spectrometry capability to analyse dissolved organic matter (DOM).