Temperature likely to rise, warns CSIRO
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