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When extreme events collide

As the risk of more frequent and extreme natural hazards rises with climate change, their impacts compound and make us more vulnerable to potential crisis. To prevent potential systemic failures, we need to make Australia less vulnerable to disruption. To build greater resilience to cope, recover and adapt, we need to work together to define and build a more resilient Australia.

CSIRO | Compound Risk
Audio-Video Transcript

A map of Australia is on the screen with a diverse group of people appearing looking concerned.
Icons with texts underneath showing extreme natural events ‘Bushfire’, ‘Cyclone’, ‘Drought’,
‘Heatwave’, ‘Pandemic’, and ‘Flood’ sequentially appear and float next to the map.
How do we continue to prosper and keep what we value in the face of the growing effects of a
changing climate?
In a scene panning left to right, three different coloured lines appear at the bottom of the screen in a
wave motion. Simultaneously, disaster icons appear on screen which are connected to areas they
impact such as the economy, employment, health, houses, people, water quality, etc. Towards the end
of the scene the disaster icons combine resulting compounding effects to the economy, employment,
health, houses, people, water quality, etc.
The risk of more frequent and extreme natural hazards is rising with climate change.
The waves continue in the next scene at the bottom of the frame, where we start to see some of them
appearing at the same time or overlapping. The impacts start to increase in number and size. The
waves behind start rising up and becoming more dramatic in shape. At the top of the frame a
panorama of a cityscape with nature areas enters, with infrastructure, services, community and the
As extreme events happen more frequently, they coincide more often, and their impacts compound
upon each other more.
The scene continues and the undulating wave areas show that they each represent a type of natural
disaster. The undulating extreme natural events rise towards the world as they become more frequent
and coincident. As the peaks break the ground level, the area that they overlap the city becomes
tinted red indicating ‘stress/disaster’ occurring with stress/warning indicators (red triangle with “!”)
appearing over critical infrastructure points in the panorama.
This compounding effect puts our communities, environment, infrastructure, and governance, under
greater stress and more vulnerable to potential crisis.
The scene continues and more crisis moments occur, visibly overwhelming the world. A copy of the
panorama of a cityscape lifts up and away from the disasters, creating two versions of the panorama
of a cityscape. The lower cityscape is now overwhelmed and has many alerts. The upper cityscape is
not impacted by the extreme natural events. Labels appear for "Current Resilience" and "Increased
To prevent potential systemic failures, we need to make Australia less exposed and vulnerable to
The lower cityscape disappears and the upper cityscape becomes solid. The extreme events are now
well below the upper cityscape. Green shields appear along the critical infrastructure points of the
upper cityscape, which becomes solid.
We need to build greater resilience into our communities, critical services and infrastructure, to cope,
recover and adapt.
Individuals (a family, a couple and two single people) appear in the foreground, with a label below
them "Individual resilience". A faint greyed out montage illustrating systems and services (health,
transport, food, water, energy, law, housing, land environment, development, mining, marine
environment, governance) builds in the background behind the individuals. Some red warning alerts
(same as earlier) appear across the background montage. Text box appears in the middle of the
frames titled ‘Individual Resilience’.
By itself, the resilience of individuals is not enough.
The 'individuals' move to the top and their label exits. Five new people slide up one by one from
below, representing; finance, business, industry, legal, and government. The text box in the middle
transitions to ‘National Resilience’. The background montage transitions to full colour and the red
warning alerts disappear.
By bringing together those with the resources and agency; our leaders in government, business and
community… we can strengthen our national resilience.
The background transitions to a subtle version of the rising undulating natural events from earlier
(without the natural event icons). The people move around the frame to form a circle and speech
bubbles appear next to them. Lines draw on from the linked people to form a strategic framework type
structure around an icon in the shape of a gear.
We need a national framework and leadership to build and maintain resilience for our communities,
critical services and infrastructure.
Speech and thought bubbles appear above the people, with the text "Values & Priorities". Lines draw
down from these to also connect and add to the 'framework structure' that is already in.
This requires an understanding and appreciation of our changing values & priorities under a dynamic,
and more dangerous, climate.
The waves in the background fade out. The framework icon traces on the outline of Australia’s map as
the people and speech bubbles move within it. The label ‘National Resilience’ remains in the centre.
Together with our leaders in government, business and community, we can define and build a more
resilient Australia.
On a gradient white background, the CSIRO logo with text underneath “To find out more, visit:” below.
To find out more, visit:

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Resilience planning for the future

Resilience planning can reduce the impact of future disasters and, support Australia to bounce back. Building resilience in communities, infrastructure and the natural environment requires an ongoing up-to-date and informed understanding of hazards, vulnerability and exposure.

[A map of Australia with a diverse group of people within.]

VOICE-OVER: Australia is a nation of brilliant, creative, determined and resilient people. But when natural disasters strike, they can cost billions of dollars with catastrophic losses.

[The people are replaced with icons for bushfire, pandemic, cyclone and flood. Icons of piling up money and warning symbols appear.]

VOICE-OVER: We are seeing more frequent and more severe natural disasters, and when they overlap this can increase the impacts we feel.

[Flowing amongst coloured waving and overlapping lines, icons appear for heatwave, drought, flood, bushfire and topsoil erosion.]

VOICE-OVER: Our resilience is the key that enables us to resist, absorb and recover from natural disasters, and restore our essential needs quickly.

[A man and a woman stand in front of a model scale city, holding back large falling dominoes with icons of natural disasters on them. A close-up view of hands rebuilding a model bridge and communication tower.]

VOICE-OVER: Impacts of natural disasters are felt differently at global, national and regional scales.

[A map marker icon appears first over a globe of the Earth, then a map of Australia, and a fold out map.]

VOICE-OVER: The evidence shows that natural disaster resilience planning helps communities, environments and infrastructure. Resilience planning improves mental health, job security, protects ecosystems and cultural sites, and secures our vital infrastructure and services.

[Icons for communities, infrastructure and environments surrounding text on screen: “Natural Disaster Resilience Planning”.]

VOICE-OVER: Australia’s investments in planning and preparation, response capacity, recovery and building back better, will help reduce the impact of future natural disasters. But this requires improved scenario planning.

[A split screen of two model wood bridges, both collapsing from heavy rain and flood water. Hands rebuilding the bridges – one the left, to it’s original form, on the right with a sturdier concrete and steel structure. Rain and flood water returns and collapses the wood bridge on the left, leaving the concrete and steel bridge on the right still standing.]

VOICE-OVER: We can improve our scenario planning by developing and adopting standard approaches and common methodologies across all jurisdictions and sectors.

[Checklists labelled “plans” are filed into folders labelled “heatwave”, “pandemic”, “drought” and “bushfire”. Text on screen: “Scenario Planning”.]

VOICE-OVER: This requires agreed emissions scenarios, climate projections, and a clearer picture of the likelihood and severity of hazards, to stress test scenarios.

[A yellow to red gauge, power plants and an orange warning sign.]

VOICE-OVER: Targeted research, science, technology, and community participation are key enablers to build resilient communities, environments and industries.

[An info graphic showing research inputting to resilience and leading to communities, environments and industries.]

VOICE-OVER: Together we can bounce back strong from natural disasters, but only if we grow our resilience together today.

[The diverse group of people return amongst coloured waving and overlapping lines.]

VOICE-OVER: For more information, visit

[CSIRO logo and text on screen: “Australia's National Science Agency. For more information, visit:”.]

This video describes how resilience planning can reduce the impact of future disasters in Australia

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