University Of Tasmania

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Projected climate change in Australian marine and freshwater environments

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 09:12 authored by Hobday, AJ, Lough, JM
Changes in the physical environment of aquatic systems consistent with climate change have been reported across Australia, with impacts on many marine and freshwater species. The future state of aquatic environments can be estimated by extrapolation of historical trends. However, because the climate is a complex non-linear system, a more process-based approach is probably required, in particular the use of dynamical projections using climate models. Because global climate models operate on spatial scales that typically are too coarse for aquatic biologists, statistical or dynamical downscaling of model output is proposed. Challenges in using climate projections exist; however, projections for some marine and freshwater systems are possible. Higher oceanic temperatures are projected around Australia, particularly for south-eastern Australia. The East Australia Current is projected to transport greater volumes of water southward, whereas the Leeuwin Current on the western coast may weaken. On land, projections suggest that air temperatures will rise and rainfall will decline across much of Australia in coming decades. Together, these changes will result in reduced runoff and hence reduced stream flow and lake storage. Present climate models are particularly limited with regard to coastal and freshwater systems, making the models challenging to use for biological-impact and adaptation studies.


Publication title

Marine and Freshwater Research










Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


C S I R O Publishing

Place of publication

150 Oxford St, Po Box 1139, Collingwood, Australia, Victoria, 3066

Rights statement

Copyright 2011 CSIRO

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Other environmental management not elsewhere classified