Median projected changes in Australia temperature (in °C) in each season, for 2080–2099 relative to 1986–2005 under RCP8.5, using CMIP5 GCMS (method of CSIRO and BOM, 2007) (a) DJF, (b) MAM, (c) JJA and (d) SON. Graphic: CSIRO / BOM

By KATRINA STOKES
27 January 2015

(The Advertiser) – South Australia is only going to get hotter and drier and more prevalent periods of drought and fire-related conditions will continue to increase, a report released today reveals.

The CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology report says what climate change experts have been saying for a long time — climate change is real.

The experts predict Adelaide will experience an increase in the number of days above 35C from 20 in 1995 to 26 in 2030, to between 28 and 47 in 2090.

TO READ THE FULL REPORT CLICK HERE [pdf]

The report states global warming will push southern Australia into drought for longer periods and droughts across Australia will become more extreme.

Fire weather is also expected to increase, seas will rise further and faster and the water will become more acidic.

In bad news for farmers in South Australia, winter and spring rainfall is projected to decrease and by 2090, the predictions of rainfall decreases are “strongly evident”.

Drought could also increase across the state, with forecasters predicting “high confidence” of this occurring, while projected warming and drying will lead to fire fuel loads that are drier and more ready to burn.

Key predictions from the report include:

WINTER and spring rainfall in southern Australia is projected to decline, while changes in other areas are uncertain

THE time in drought will increase over southern Australia, with a greater frequency of severe droughts

BY 2090, Australian average temperatures are projected to increase by 0.6 to 1.7C for a low emissions scenario, or 2.8 to 5.1C under a high emission scenario

MORE hot days are like to occur as well as harsher fire weather, including an increase in the number of days with a “severe” fire danger rating

Climate Institute chief executive officer John Connor said the report findings demonstrated why it was in Australia’s best interest to “drive ambitious climate action”.

“This new data reinforces earlier analysis for Treasury (the government) that showed large chunks of the Australian economy will be whacked by global warming ... sectors like agriculture, health and ecosystems are hit well beyond their ability to adapt,” he said.

Opposition climate change spokesman Mark Butler said the latest report painted a “grim picture” for Australia if the Government did not take significant action on climate change. [more]

South Australia to get much hotter, drier, new climate change report reveals


27 January 2015 (CSIRO) – CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology today released climate change projections for Australia that provide updated national and regional information on how the climate may change to the end of the 21st century.

The projections are the most comprehensive ever released for Australia and have been prepared with an emphasis on informing impact assessment and planning in the natural resource management sector. Information has been drawn from simulations based on up to 40 global climate models.

CSIRO and Bureau researchers have confirmed that 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”, CSIRO principal research scientist, Kevin Hennessy said.

“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 projected for Tasmania in winter.

For the rest of Australia, naturally occurring fluctuations in rainfall patterns will dominate over trends due to climate change until 2030, after which the trends associated with climate change will begin to emerge.

By 2090, winter rainfall is expected to decrease in eastern Australia.

Southern and eastern Australia are projected to experience harsher fire weather, while tropical cyclones may occur less often, but become more intense.

“This research has been strongly aligned with the needs of Australia’s natural resources sector”, Mr Hennessy said. “Other researchers are using this information to assess potential impacts and management options.”

Projected changes will be superimposed on significant natural climate variability.

Observed climate information indicates that Australian average surface air temperature has increased by 0.9° C since 1910, and many heat-related records have been broken in recent years. Sea level has risen about 20 cm over the past century.

The Bureau of Meteorology has observed that since the 1970s, northern Australia has become wetter, southern Australia has become drier, the number of extreme fire weather days has increased in many places, 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.

The reports can be downloaded from www.climatechangeinaustralia.gov.au.

The new climate change projections for Australia are funded by the Department of the Environment through the NRM Planning for Climate Change Fund with co-funding from CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology.

Learn more about long term trends in Australian climate on State of the Climate 2014 [external link].

Read more media releases in our Media section.

* Further information on how confidence is defined can be found in Chapter 6 of the Projections for Australia’s NRM Regions Technical Report (page 88).

New climate change projections for Australia

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