Climate change will mean hotter days and more of them for Australia.
The peak science body, CSIRO, and the Bureau of Meteorology have released the results of a recalculation of climate change projections for Australia.
The projections are the most comprehensive for Australia and have been prepared with an emphasis on informing the natural resource management sector. Information has been drawn from simulations based on up to 40 global climate models.
CSIRO and Bureau researchers say most of the changes observed over recent decades will continue into the future.
“There is very high confidence that hot days will become more frequent and hotter,” says CSIRO principal research scientist Kevin Hennessy.
“We also have very high confidence that sea levels will rise, oceans will become more acidic, and snow depths will decline.
“We expect that extreme rainfall events across the nation are likely to become more intense, even where annual-average rainfall is projected to decline.”
In southern mainland Australia, winter and spring rainfall is projected to decrease but increases are expected for Tasmania in winter.
For the rest of Australia, naturally occurring fluctuations in rainfall will dominate until 2030, when trends associated with climate change will begin to emerge.
By 2090, winter rainfall is expected to decrease in eastern Australia.
Southern and eastern Australia will have harsher fire weather, while tropical cyclones may occur less often but become more intense.
Australian average surface air temperature has increased by 0.9° C since 1910 and many heat-related records have been broken in recent years. The sea level has risen about 20 cm over the past century.
Since the 1970s, the Bureau of Meteorology has observed that northern Australia has become wetter, southern Australia has become drier, the number of extreme fire weather days has increased and heavy rainfall has accounted for an increasing proportion of annual total rainfall.
Snow depths have declined since the 1950s and cyclone frequency seems to have declined since the 1980s.
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