As if we needed any further confirmation of what’s already going on around us: Australia’s mean temperature has gone up, the weather extremes are getting worse, and so is the deadly annual fire season, according to a new joint report authored by CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology scientists. It makes for some troubling reading.
It’s called the State Of The Climate report, and while it doesn’t sound entirely sexy to start with, the revelations contained within it are certainly something we all need to be talking about.
It takes into account Australian mean temperature reporting from the last 114 years, satellite weather readings, historic weather balloon observations, greenhouse gas concentration reports, ocean heat reports, sea level readings and other climate information to produce a reliable insight into what’s going on with our climate, both locally and around the world. From the data collected, it looks like we’re in for a hell of a century.
The report says that in the last 100 years, Australia’s climate has increased in temperature by 0.9 degrees Celcius, and since the 1970’s, Australia’s extreme fire seasons have increased in intensity and lengthened in duration.
Australia’s warming trend is higher than that of the rest of the world, with mean temperatures elsewhere only increasing by 0.85 degrees Celcius in the last 130 years.
Seven of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1988 according to the report, and “over the past 15 years, the frequency of very warm months has increased five-fold and the frequency of very cool months has declined by around a third, compared to 1951–1980”.
The bad news continues, as scientists reveal that our extreme heatwaves are expected to continue, with “more extremely hot days and fewer extremely cool days”. Sea level rise is also expected to continue, as well as ocean acidification.
Rainfall is projected to fall in Southern Australia in the future, but that wasn’t always the case: rainfall actually increased in Australia since 1900, with the largest rainfalls recorded in the northwest since 1970.
Check out the full report here (PDF).