Tem­per­a­ture likely to rise, warns CSIRO

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Career One -

TEM­PER­A­TURES are likely to rise by 1C across Aus­tralia by 2030, but could in­crease by up to 5C in some places by 2070, cli­mate ex­perts say. Penny Whet­ton, the co-au­thor of a new Cli­mate Change in Aus­tralia re­port pro­duced by the Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy and CSIRO, says the prob­a­bil­ity of warm­ing ex­ceed­ing 1C is 10 to 20 per cent for coastal ar­eas of Aus­tralia, and more than 50 per cent for in­land re­gions.

‘‘ Aus­tralia is likely to be about 1C warmer by 2030 com­pared to the tem­per­a­tures of re­cent decades, and this amount of warm­ing isn’t much af­fected by what we do about green­house gas emis­sions,’’ the CSIRO’s Whet­ton said when launch­ing the re­port.

‘‘ How­ever, later in the cen­tury, it is much more im­pacted by what we do with global lev­els of green­house gas emis­sions. If you al­low for . . . vari­a­tion, there’s some­thing like a 20 to 30 per cent chance the warm­ing in 2070 in in­land ar­eas will ex­ceed 4C and may even reach 5C by that time.’’

Whet­ton says the modelling done in the re­port shows rain­fall is also ex­pected to de­crease in parts of Aus­tralia, par­tic­u­larly in south-west­ern Aus­tralia.

‘‘ De­creases in rain­fall are likely for south­ern Aus­tralia, par­tic­u­larly through the win­ter, and in south­ern and east­ern parts of Aus­tralia through the win­ter and the spring.’’

Whet­ton says the Cli­mate Change in Aus­tralia re­port was the latest and most com­pre­hen­sive as­sess­ment of in­for­ma­tion on ob­served cli­mate change over Aus­tralia.

The re­port, which was re­leased as part of the Green­house 2007 Con­fer­ence, pro­vides up­dated pro­jec­tions of changes in tem­per­a­ture and rain­fall which can be ex­pected in com­ing decades due to con­tin­ued global green­house gas emis­sions.

‘‘ Some cli­mate change for Aus­tralia is cer­tainly in­evitable, so we’re go­ing to need to adapt to its im­pact,’’ she said.

‘‘ How­ever, for later on in the cen­tury if we’re able to re­duce our global lev­els of green­house gas emis­sions we’ll be able to re­duce the risks of some of those higher rates of warm­ing,’’ Whet­ton said.

The re­port con­firms a pat­tern of rain­fall change lead­ing to drought — which the CSIRO had ear­lier iden­ti­fied, Whet­ton says.

She says the amount by which rain­fall will de­crease could reach up to 10 per cent by 2030, 20 per cent by 2070 un­der low level emis­sions, or 30 per cent un­der a high emis­sions sce­nario.

‘‘ Th­ese de­creases in rain­fall are also likely to mean more drought as we know drought to­day,’’ she said.

‘‘ How­ever, this doesn’t mean that the drought that some ar­eas are suf­fer­ing now will con­tinue. ‘‘ There will still be wet years in the fu­ture, but dry con­di­tions will oc­cur more fre­quently.’’

Re­sults from the re­port in­di­cate that some ar­eas of Aus­tralia will ex­pe­ri­ence heavy rain­fall events, days of higher fire dan­ger, more in­tense trop­i­cal cy­clones af­fect­ing north­ern parts of Aus­tralia, and more coastal flood­ing caused by seas as­so­ci­ated with storms. AAP

Harsh weather fore­cast: Whet­ton

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