Climate impacts

Projections of climate change impacts in the Torres Strait

Direct

The expected direct impacts of climate change in the Torres Strait include: increased average annual temperatures, higher sea levels, increased average annual sea surface temperature, and changes in extreme weather events such as rainfall and tropical cyclones.

More detailed discussion on projected impacts can be found in the following:

Observed and Future Climates of the Torres Strait Region

An assessment of climate change impacts and adaptation for the Torres Strait Islands, Australia


Indirect

Existing local concerns are likely to interact with the direct impacts of climate change in a number of ways, which is likely to have a number of flow-on impacts. Some of the indirect impacts of climate change in the Torres Strait could include:

 

  • Flooding of above ground rubbish tips, leading to increased chances of spreading disease through the community.
  • Major damage to infrastructure such as houses, airstrips, sewerage plants, water tanks or dams and power (in the case of a flooded/ damaged sewerage plant, this could have significant flow-on health costs).
  • Sea water contamination of fresh water supplies.
  • Inundation of graveyards and other sacred cultural sites.
  • Increasing coastal erosion.
  • An increase in cases of malaria and dengue due to a change in the range of the mosquitoes that act as a vector spreading the disease in addition to an increase in standing water, enabling more mosquitoes to breed.
  • Coral bleaching. This also causes significant flow-on impacts, including decreased reef protection from storms.
  • Changes in breeding patterns of important totemic animals such as turtle and dugong.
  • Changes in the abundance and location of animals and plants, affecting nutrition and community health and well-being.

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