University of Tasmania

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Exploring the Health Effects of a Subtly Changing Climate: risk and vulnerability to Ross River Virus in Tasmania, Australia

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 13:38 authored by Lyth, A, Neil HolbrookNeil Holbrook
Australian health research has focused largely on issues associated with extreme climate events, potentially masking our understanding of more subtle climate change effects on regional systems. In Australia’s island State of Tasmania, there is evidence that subtle changes in climate into the future may have implications for human health.

This paper discusses a regional investigation of vulnerability to the mosquito-borne disease Ross River virus in Tasmania in a subtly changing climate. Ross River virus is Australia’s most significant mosquito-borne disease. The study: i) synthesises unconnected knowledge about biophysical, social and climatic factors influencing Ross River virus risk in Tasmania; ii) assesses vulnerability using a nested co-dependency framework, and regional-scale climate modelling by the Climate Futures for Tasmania program; and iii) qualitatively explores adaptive policy and planning capacity within Tasmania.

Our results suggest a heightened risk of Ross River virus in Tasmania towards the mid 21st Century. Areas of noted vulnerability are population growth areas in outer urban, semi-rural, and coastal areas; while baseline adaptive capacity points to the need for integrated and sustainable policy responses across sectors. The findings have implications for the conceptualisation of regional-scale climate change risk and vulnerability research, and sustainable adaptation policy approaches elsewhere.


Tasmanian Climate Change Office


Publication title

Conference Program for the Fifth International Conference on Climate Change: Impacts and Responses




School of Geography, Planning and Spatial Sciences


Common Ground Publishing

Place of publication

Champaign, Illinois, USA

Event title

Fifth International Conference on Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

Event Venue

Port-Louis, Mauritius

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Social impacts of climate change and variability

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