11.1.1 Summary of knowledge from the Third Assessment Report (TAR)
In the IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR; Pittock and Wratt, 2001), the following impacts were assessed as important for Australia and New Zealand.
- Water resources are likely to become increasingly stressed in some areas of both countries, with rising competition for water supply.
- Warming is likely to threaten the survival of species in some natural ecosystems, notably in alpine regions, south-western Australia, coral reefs and freshwater wetlands.
- Regional reductions in rainfall in south-west and inland Australia and eastern New Zealand are likely to make agricultural activities particularly vulnerable.
- Increasing coastal vulnerability to tropical cyclones, storm surges and sea-level rise.
- Increased frequency of high-intensity rainfall, which is likely to increase flood damage.
- The spread of some disease vectors is very likely, thereby increasing the potential for disease outbreaks, despite existing biosecurity and health services.
The overall conclusions of the TAR were that: (i) climate change is likely to add to existing stresses to the conservation of terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity and to achieving sustainable land use, and (ii) Australia has significant vulnerability to climate change expected over the next 100 years, whereas New Zealand appears more resilient, except in a few eastern areas.