A State of the Climate 2022 report released on November 23, 2022, by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Bureau of Meteorology has shown that Australia is facing an increasing rate of change in terms of weather and climate extremes.
Issued every two years, the report which looked at the increase in high heat events, intense heavy rains, longer fire seasons and sea level rise detailed how Australia’s climate is changing now and in the future using the most recent data on climate monitoring, science, and projections.
Reacting to the report’s findings, Dr Jaci Brown, director of CSIRO’s Climate Science Centre, said that concentrations of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, are at the highest levels observed 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,” he said, adding that the analysis provides evidence of the ongoing warming and acidity of the oceans surrounding Australia since 1900.
Speaking further, he said that the warming of our oceans is contributing to longer and more frequent marine heatwaves, and this trend is expected to continue into the future “We’re seeing mass coral bleaching events more often, and this year, for the first time, we’ve seen a mass coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef during a La Niña year”.
On his part, Dr Karl Braganza, manager of the Bureau of Meteorology’s Climate Environmental Prediction Services, said that the analysis predicted rising air temperatures, more heat extremes, and fewer cold extremes in the future.
“Australia’s climate has warmed on average by 1.47 degrees since 1910,” he said. “We’ve seen contrasting rainfall trends across the north and the south of the country”. “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.”
The report further showed that there has been an increase in the intensity of heavy rainfall events and more short-duration heavy rainfall events are predicted to occur in the future.
Story was adapted from CSIRO.