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Climate report warns Australians to prepare for more extreme weather events

Australia has already begun feeling the effects of global warming, a report published by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said on Friday, November 13, 2020.

Scott Morrison
Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison

Jaci Brown, Director of CSIRO’s Climate Science Centre, made the disclosure in a statement.

The sixth biennial State of the Climate report revealed that Australia in the year of 2019 experienced 43 extremely warm days, more than triple the number in any of the years prior to 2000.

It warned Australians to brace for longer bushfire seasons, more intense heavy rainfall events and fewer but more extreme tropical cyclones.

“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,” Brown said.

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The report found that Australia’s climate has warmed on average by 1.44 degrees since 1910, leading to more frequent, longer and more intense droughts.

In terms of national daily average maximum temperatures, there were 33 days that exceeded 39 degrees Celsius in 2019, “more than the number observed from 1960 to 2018 combined, which totalled 24 days.”

While 2019 was Australia’s hottest year on record, Brown said that in decades it may have been topped several times.

“In fact, we think of this decade being hot but this decade will be one of the coolest in the next hundred years,” she said.

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Karl Braganza, Manager of Climate Environmental Prediction Services in BOM, said the report confirmed that there had been a “significant increase in the frequency of dangerous fire weather days across Australia.

The dangerous fire is particularly during spring and summer, leading to an earlier start to the southern fire season.”

“Climate change is influencing these trends through its impact on temperature, rainfall, and relative humidity, and the resulting change to the fuel moisture content,” he said.

According to the report, Australia’s changing rainfall pattern is another key observation, with contrasting trends being observed across the north and south.

“In southwest Australia, for example, cool season rainfall has decreased by around 16 per cent since 1970. These trends are projected to lead to more time spent in drought in the coming decades,” Braganza said.

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“In contrast, rainfall has increased across most of northern Australia since the 1970s,” he added.

Australia endured one of its worst bushfire events in history in the 2019/20 summer when 33 people died and thousands of homes were destroyed or damaged in what has become known as the “Black Summer”.

“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,” said Brown.

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