New Report Warns Climate Change Will Hit Hard in Australia

The most comprehensive analysis of Australia’s future climate produced in the past decade warns that the nation could be headed for a rise in average temperature of 1.3°C by 2030 and between 2.8°C and 5.1°C by the year 2090.

The Natural Resource Management report, prepared by the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology, notes that most of the climate changes observed in recent years are set to continue. The projections supersede those released by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology in a 2007 report.

Kevin Hennessy, a principal research scientist at CSIRO, said Australia would warm faster than the rest of the world, with more hot days, hotter hot days and fewer cold days. ”We are starting to see what we can expect in the future with greater frequency and intensity,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

The report notes that average Australian air temperature has risen by 0.9°C since 1910. It states this increase is largely the result of increasing greenhouse gas emissions and there is very high confidence in continued increases of mean, daily minimum and daily maximum temperatures throughout this century for all regions in Australia.

It notes that projections for temperature increase by the end of the century depend on the extent of future greenhouse gas emissions, with the world currently tracking at the upper end of emission scenarios.

Warming is projected to be stronger over land masses than oceans and particularly strong over the Arctic. Hot days and heat waves are projected to become more frequent and cold days less frequent.

The report findings include:

  • Sea level is projected to rise by between 45cm and 82cm by 2090 if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced.
  • Rainfall is expected to decline in southern Australia in winter and spring but extreme rainfall events will increase in frequency and intensity.
  • Droughts will become more extreme and will increase in duration.
  • There will be an increase in the number of days of extreme fire risk.

The oceans are projected to increase in temperature by 2°C to 4°C, unless emissions are reduced, and excess carbon dioxide absorbed by the oceans are projected to cause acidification. This would make it more difficult for corals to form hard reef structures and would prevent creatures such as oysters, clams, lobsters and crabs developing their shells. The full report is available for download at –  http://www.climatechangeinaustralia.gov.au/en/publications-library/