More extremely hot days, fewer cold ones wetter in the north and drier in the south: this is not a forecast for Australia’s climate but a snapshot of our climate now.
In a joint CSIRO/Bureau of Meteorology statement released today, Australia’s two lead climate science agencies have produced a snapshot of the state of the climate to update Australians about how their climate has changed and what it means.
Changes observed include:
- Highly variable rainfall across the country, with substantial increases in rainfall in northern and central parts of Australia, as well as significant decreases across much of southern and eastern Australia.
- Rapidly rising sea levels from 1993 to 2009, with levels around Australia rising, between 1.5cm and 3cm per decade in Australia’s south and east and between 7cm and 9cm in the country’s north
- About half of the observed reduction in winter rainfall in south-west Western Australia can be explained by higher greenhouse gas levels.
Bureau of Meteorology Director Dr Greg Ayers said the observed changes showed climate change was real.
“Australia holds one of the best national climate records in the world,” Dr Ayers said.
“The Bureau’s been responsible for keeping that record for more than a hundred years and it’s there for anyone and everyone to see, use and analyse.”
CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Megan Clark said the Bureau data underpinned a great deal of CSIRO research.
“Understanding options for mitigation and adaptation are important research priorities for us,” Dr Clark said.
“With this snapshot, Australians will be better prepared for the next step of planning for how to adapt to a changing climate and how to also take action to reduce the impacts of climate change. CSIRO has been working with industry and in sectors of the economy such as agriculture to prepare for and implement necessary changes.”
Dr Ayers said the snapshot presented the facts in an accessible format.
“There is a thirst for good quality climate science and our two organisations are proud to publish this,” he said.
Editor's Note: Original news release can be found here. The six-page snapshot is available here.