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Impacts of climate change

What do we know?

There is a range of scientific information available about the projected impacts of climate change at the local, national and international levels. The Tasmanian Government uses these resources to plan for and adapt to a changing climate. The three main sources of information are the Climate Futures for Tasmania project, the CSIRO/Bureau of Meteorology and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Climate Futures for Tasmania

The Climate Futures for Tasmania (CFT) project is the most important source of Tasmanian climate change projections at a local scale. Between 2010 and 2012, the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (ACE CRC) published the CFT reports that presented the first fine-scale local climate information for Tasmania.

Through CFT modelling, we have an understanding of how the Tasmanian climate is likely to change between now and 2100. In addition to general data there is specific information for agriculture, coasts and water & catchments.

General CFT Reports

Hard copies of the CFT reports are available. Please contact

Climate Futures for Tasmania maps 

  • The Land Information System Tasmania (the LIST) LISTmap provides access to over 300 publicly available map layers, such as geology, primary industries, biodiversity and climate change.
  • The CFT climate change projections available on LISTmap include projections for three time periods and for high and low carbon emissions scenarios. They include mean frost risk, annual rainfall, mean temperature change, pan evaporation change and relative humidity change.

CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology 

In 2015, CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology released comprehensive information about observed and projected climate change in Australia on the Climate Change in Australia website.

  • The Southern Slopes Cluster Report summarises the key climate change projections for the Southern Slopes region of Australia, which includes Tasmania.
  • Climate Analogues show how a changing climate will affect individual towns in Australia over the coming decades. The online tool matches a region’s likely future climate conditions with the current climate experienced by another region using average annual rainfall and maximum temperatures. For example, with an average temperature increase of 2 degrees, the climate of Launceston will be more like Melbourne, Goulburn or Armidale by 2030.
  • The Climate Futures Tool uses the existing Climate Futures data and details the ‘best’ and ‘worst’ cases of the likely impacts of a changing climate, depending on the level of greenhouse gas emissions. The tool is designed to help users understand and apply climate change projections when preparing impact assessments and planning for climate change adaptation.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

The IPCC is the leading international organisation for the assessment of climate change. It is a scientific body managed by the United Nations and has 195 countries as members. Thousands of scientists from around the world contribute to the IPCC to review and assess the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information about climate change. The IPCC also sets international guidelines for measuring and calculating greenhouse gas emissions.

Emissions Scenarios

Future greenhouse gas emissions are the result of complex systems that are shaped by how societies and technology change over time. The IPCC develops emissions scenarios which are used in the analysis of possible climate change, its impacts and the options to reduce emissions. Scenarios give us alternative images, or storylines, of what may happen in the future. Detailed explanation of these scenarios is available in the IPCC’s Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES).

What are the projected impacts for Tasmania?

The Climate Futures for Tasmania project found that the following projected changes are likely by 2100. The projections are based on two of the emissions scenarios set by the IPCC. A scenario is a set of assumptions about future greenhouse gas emissions, land use, and other factors that influence climate change. Detailed explanation of these scenarios is available in the IPCC’s Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES).


  • Tasmanian temperatures are projected to rise by about 2.9 °C under the high emissions scenario, and about 1.6 °C under the low emissions scenario.


  • There is no significant projected change to total annual rainfall for Tasmania under the two emissions scenarios.
  • However, significant changes are projected in the seasonal cycle. These include increases of 20 to 30 per cent in summer and autumn rainfall along the east coast and on the west coast, 15 per cent increases in winter and 18 per cent decreases in summer rainfall.

Runoff (excess water from rain or snow melt, flowing over land)

  • Runoff is affected by changes to both rainfall and evapotranspiration (where water lost from the land surface is both evaporated and transpired by plants). By 2100, it is projected that there will be a slight increase in the State’s total amount of runoff.
  • However, runoff is projected to decrease markedly in Tasmania’s central highlands, and increase in the important agricultural regions of the Derwent Valley and the Midlands.


  • By 2100, it is projected that the incidence of frost will reduce by about half. For many areas in Tasmania, the period of frost risk is also projected to shorten from March-December to May-October.

Other impacts we are likely to experience in Tasmania include:

  • an increase in heat waves;
  • extreme rainfall events;
  • rising sea levels;
  • river flooding in some catchments; and 
  • drought in some parts of the State.

What do we do with our knowledge?

The Tasmanian Climate Change Office is working with communities, businesses and households to reduce the risks associated with these projected changes in our climate, and to minimise the potential for damage to our environment, assets and infrastructure.

Changes to the climate may also present opportunities for Tasmania. For example, because Tasmania’s climate is milder than other Australian states, the impacts of climate change in many cases will be more moderate. This could be beneficial for the agriculture, aquaculture and viticulture industries. A milder climate may also increase Tasmania’s standing as a tourism destination, and potentially increase immigration, helping to deliver a stable and sustainable population that supports local economic growth. 

 More detailed information is available: