IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability

11.8.1 Assessing impacts of climate change and vulnerability for critical systems

  • Water: Impacts and optimum adaptation strategies for projected changes in drought and floods, and implications for water security within an integrated catchment framework. This includes impacts on long-term groundwater levels, water quality, environmental flows and future requirements for hydroelectricity generation, irrigation and urban supply.
  • Natural ecosystems: Identification of thresholds including rates at which autonomous adaptation is possible; identification of the most vulnerable species (including key indicator species), long-term monitoring; modelling of potential impacts on key ecosystems; interactions with stresses such as invasive species; improved bioclimatic modelling; and management options to reduce vulnerability.
  • Agriculture: Impacts and adaptation strategies for a complete range of farming systems, including both costs and benefits for rural livelihoods. Analyses should address changes in the industry supply chain and regional land use, and the threat of new pests and diseases.
  • Oceans and fisheries: Potential impacts of changes in climate, ENSO and IPO on physical oceanography, marine life and fish stocks in the waters that surround Australia and New Zealand.
  • Settlements, especially coastal communities: Comprehensive assessments of vulnerability and adaptation options so as to provide improved guidance for planning and hazard management. Investigation of local and regional costs of projected changes in extreme weather events and adaptation planning for scenarios of sea-level rise beyond 2100.
  • Climate extremes and infrastructure: Risks to building, transport, water, communication, energy and mining infrastructure, and insurance protection from an increase in extreme weather events. A re-evaluation is required of probable maximum precipitation and design floods2 for dams, bridges, river protection, major urban infrastructure and risks of glacier outburst floods.
  • Tourism: Improved understanding as to how direct and indirect impacts of climate change affect human behaviour with respect to recreation patterns and holiday destination choice.
  • Climate surprises: Impacts of abrupt climate change, faster than expected sea-level rise and sudden changes in ocean circulation. Little is known about potential impacts and vulnerability on the region beyond 2100.