Australia is experiencing more extremely hot days and severe fire seasons according to the findings of a new climate report from the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology.
The biennial CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology State of the Climate report draws on the latest climate monitoring and science to show how the climate is changing.
CSIRO Senior Scientist and leader of the NESP Earth Systems and Climate Change Hub, Dr Helen Cleugh says the changes re due to an increase in greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, which act like a blanket by keeping heat in the Earth’s lower atmosphere.
“Australian temperatures will almost certainly continue to increase over the coming decades. Temperature projections suggest more extremely hot days and fewer extremely cool days.”
State of the Climate 2016: Fast facts
- Australia has warmed by around 1 °C since 1910.
- The number of days per year over 35 °C has increased in recent decades, except in parts of northern Australia.
- There has been an increase in extreme fire weather, and a longer fire season, across large parts of Australia since the 1970s.
- May–July rainfall has reduced by around 19 per cent since 1970 in the southwest of Australia.
- April–October growing season rainfall has reduced by around 11 per cent since the mid-1990s in the continental southeast of Australia.
- Rainfall has increased across parts of northern Australia since the 1970s.
- Global sea level has risen over 20 cm since the late 19th Century with about one third of this rise due to ocean warming.
- The 2016 global annual average CO2 level will almost certainly exceed 400 ppm.
- The overwhelming contribution to the additional CO2 in the atmosphere is from human activities, mainly the burning of fossil fuels.
- The atmospheric CO2 increases in 2015 were the highest ever observed.