The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) has released projections for future changes in temperature, rainfall and other climate variables. The projections have been prepared in conjunction with the ACT Government and the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of NSW.
The fine-scale projections are designed to help local government, business and the community to build resilience in the face of future extreme events and hazards by helping them to understand the impacts of climate change and better manage risk in their local areas.
The climate change adaptation programs are aimed at:
- helping communities adapt (including assessing regional communities’ vulnerability)
- preparing for the impacts of climate change
- protecting ecosystems and natural resources
- managing water resources.
The high-resolution modelling released by the OEH provides climate scenarios for 100 square-km grids for time frames up to 2030 and 2070. The modelling
indicates that NSW can expect more hot days, shifting rainfall patterns and more extreme fire danger weather as a result of global warming.
Matthew Riley, director of climate and atmospheric science for the Office of Environment and Heritage, told the Sydney Morning Herald that all the models indicate it will get warmer in NSW.
For maximum temperatures, the increase will be approximately 0.7 degrees by 2030, which is in addition to the 0.5 degree increase recorded between 1990-2009. The regional climate modelling indicates that if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase at the current rate, average maximum temperatures will increase by 2.1 degrees from current levels.
Sydney’s western suburbs currently experience between 10 and 20 days of temperatures over 35 degrees a year. The OEH projections show that number will increase by 5 to 10 days by 2030 and by 10 to 20 days by 2070. Matthew Riley said by 2070 it is likely that more than a third of the year in north-west NSW will be above 35 degrees compared to about one-fifth of the year now.
NSW Environment Minister Rob Stokes said it is an “important duty for a responsible government to help communities understand future risk.”
The climate projections can be found at http://www.climatechange.environment.nsw.gov.au
The website indicates that coastal councils will still be required to determine their own sea level rise projections to suit their local conditions, and that the 2009 NSW Sea Level Rise Policy Statement is no longer NSW Government policy