25 Nov 2022.
The State of the Climate Report for Australia was released on November 23, 2022. It is a biennial report released by Australia’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Bureau of Meteorology. It provides insights into the continent’s current and future climates. The report was released weeks after a record heavy rainfall caused by La Nina resulted in widespread inundation in the eastern part of Australia.
What are the key findings of the report?
- There is a fast-paced change in weather and climate extremes across Australia.
- The continent’s climate has warmed by 1.47°C on average since 1910. Oceans around it has also warmed by more than 1°C since 1900.
- According to the report, increasing surface and ocean temperature is expected wreak havoc in Australia.
- Weather extremes like intense heat, heavy rainfall and coastal inundation, wildfire and drought are expected to worsen in the coming years. They are forecasted to become more frequent and intense.
- These changes are expected to adversely affect the lives and livelihoods of all Australians.
- Since the 1950s, there has been an increase in extreme fire weather and more extended fire seasons across many parts of Australia. According to the report, the fire season will continue to be longer.
- The report noted the contrasting rainfall trends in northern and southern parts of Australia. There has been an overall decline in rainfall between April and October across southern Australia in recent decades. However, rainfall has intensified in northern Australia since the 1970s.
- The number of tropical cyclones in Australian region has decreased since the 1980s. This trend is expected to continue. However, these cyclones are expected to become more intense. The intensity of cyclonic rainfall is also expected to increase. When combined with high sea levels, these severe rainfalls are expected to worsen the impact of tropical cyclones.
- The report predicts a more rapid increase in sea level because of the melting of Antarctic Ice Sheet.
- Marine heatwaves are expected to last longer, leading to severe impact on marine ecosystem, including biodiversity. This can result in increased chances of more frequent and severe bleaching events in coral reefs across Australia, including the Great Barrier Reef and Ningaloo Reef.