WEATHER

Climate report warns of more extreme weather for Australia

THE CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology have released the State of the Climate 2022 report, which stated that changes to weather and climate extremes are happening at an increased pace across Australia.

Staff writer
 The latest State of the Climate report suggests extreme heat events and an increase in heavy rainfall is likely for Australia. . Picture Mark Saunders.

The latest State of the Climate report suggests extreme heat events and an increase in heavy rainfall is likely for Australia. . Picture Mark Saunders.

The report, which is released every two years, shows an increase in extreme heat events, intense heavy rainfall, longer fire seasons and sea level rise.

The director of CSIRO's Climate Science Centre, Jaci Brown, said concentrations of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, are at the highest levels seen on Earth in at least two million years.

"The concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are continuing to rise, and this is causing Australia's climate to warm," Brown said.

The Bureau of Meteorology's manager of Climate Environmental Prediction Services, Karl Braganza, said the report projected increases in air temperatures, more heat extremes and fewer cold extremes in coming decades.

"Australia's climate has warmed on average by 1.47 degrees since 1910," Braganza said.

"We've seen contrasting rainfall trends across the north and the south of the country," he said.

"There's been an overall decline in rainfall between April and October across southern Australia in recent decades, but in northern Australia, rainfall has increased across the region since the 1970s," Braganza said.

During La Niña events in 2021-22, eastern Australia experienced one of its most significant flood periods ever observed.

The report shows heavy rainfall events are becoming more intense and the number of short-duration heavy rainfall events is expected to increase in the future.

"The length of fire seasons has increased across the country in recent decades," Braganza said.

"We're expecting to see longer fire seasons in the future for the south and east, and an increase in the number of dangerous fire weather days," Braganza said.

Michael Robertson, director of CSIRO Agriculture and Food, said the threats caused by climate change, including extreme rainfall, droughts, heatwaves and bushfires, are already having widespread impacts on Australia's agricultural industry, affecting food production and supply chains.

"Historically the sector has shown its ability to adapt to changes in climate, but we have an important role to play at CSIRO to help our farmers to build on that, navigating the growing climate risks to ensure long-term viability of rural enterprises and communities," Robertson said.

"We're doing that through initiatives such as our Drought Resilience Mission and looking at sustainable integrated solutions for agriculture and land use, a great example of which is the Climate Services for Agriculture project, providing historical weather and climate projections on a 5km grid, to allow farmers to see how climate is changing in ways relevant to what they produce," Robertson said.

The project, a collaboration between CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology and funded by the Australian Government's Future Drought Fund, will help inform farmers where adaptations will be needed.  

To read the full State of Climate 2022 report, visit https://www.csiro.au

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