How will I be affected?
It is difficult to precisely predict what the impacts of climate change will be, as they vary with each region. Best estimates are that by 2030 Australia will face:
* a further 1ºC of warming in temperatures
* up to 20 per cent more months of drought
* up to 25 per cent increase in days of very high or extreme fire danger
* increases in storm surges and severe weather events.
Australia is very vulnerable to the effects of climate change. We are already the driest inhabited continent on earth, heavily exposed to the dangers of extreme heat and drought. We are home to many globally important and vulnerable ecological systems. Australians are mainly coastal dwellers. Our industries and urban centres face ongoing water limitations. Our economy, including food production and agriculture, is under threat.
The longer we wait to act on climate change, the more it will cost and the worse its effects will be.
The State of the Climate – report from CSIRO
Two organisations, CSIRO and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology have combined to present this current picture of Australia’s climate and the factors that influence it.
The Bureau of Meteorology has been observing and reporting on weather in Australia for over 100 years, and CSIRO has been conducting atmospheric and marine research for over 60 years.
The snapshot is sourced from peer reviewed data on temperature, rainfall, sea level, ocean acidification, and carbon dioxide and methane levels in the atmosphere.
What this means:
Australia will be hotter in coming decades
Australian average temperatures are projected to rise by 0.6 to 1.5 ºC by 2030. If global greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow at rates consistent with past trends, warming is projected to be in the range of 2.2 to 5.0 ºC by 2070. Warming is projected to be lower near the coast and in Tasmania and higher in central and northwestern Australia. These changes will be felt through an increase in the number of hot days.
Much of Australia will be drier in coming decades
Compared to the period 1981-2000, decreases in rainfall are likely in the decades to come in southern areas of Australia during winter, in southern and eastern areas during spring, and in south-west Western Australia during autumn. An increase in the number of dry days is expected across the country, but it is likely that there will be an increase in intense rainfall events in many areas.
References and further information:
State of the Climate 2012