Continued warming of Australia’s climate, an increase in extreme fire weather and the length of the fire season, declining rainfall in the southeast and southwest of the continent, and rising sea levels are some of the key trends detailed in the latest State of the Climate report, released by the country’s Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation), the sixth in this series of biennial reports.
Drawing on the latest climate observations, analyses and projections, the report provides a comprehensive and rigorous analysis of Australia’s changing climate. “Our science clearly shows that, due to increasing greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere, Australia’s climate is continuing to warm, and the frequency of extreme events such as bushfires, droughts and marine heatwaves is growing,” said research director of CSIRO’s Climate Science Centre Dr Jaci Brown at the launch of the report.
The Bureau of Meteorology’s Manager of Climate Environmental Prediction Services, Dr Karl Braganza, noted, “There has been a significant increase in the frequency of dangerous fire weather days across Australia, particularly during spring and summer, leading to an earlier start to the southern fire season.”
Australia’s changing rainfall pattern is another key observation documented in the report, with contrasting trends being observed across the north and south of Australia. “In the southwest and southeast of Australia we are seeing drier conditions, particularly in the cool season months of April to October. In southwest Australia, for example, cool season rainfall has decreased by around 16% since 1970. These trends are projected to lead to more time spent in drought in the coming decades,” explained Dr Braganza.
Dr Brown concluded. “This report presents a synthesis of our most up-to-date understanding of the changing nature of Australia’s climate, providing a sound base for economic, environmental and social decision-making now and into the future.”
The full report can be found here.