Climate change report: Australia’s heatwaves to be hotter, longer and more frequent
Heatwaves to be hotter, longer and more frequent, climate change report says, ABC News 9 Feb 17 By Lexy Hamilton-Smith Heatwaves are becoming hotter, lasting longer and occurring more often, the Climate Council’s latest report card on climate change says.
The Cranking Up The Intensity: Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events report has found 2016 was the hottest year on record globally.
Climate scientist Professor Will Steffen warned extreme weather events were projected to worsen across Australia as the climate warmed further. He said the extreme heat had to be “taken really seriously, first and foremost”. “It is a risk for human health, particularly for the most vulnerable — the elderly, very young people, and exposed outdoor workers,” he said.
“It is obviously a risk for the agricultural industry, it is a risk for natural ecosystems.
“We saw an underwater heatwave about a year ago wipe out a large part of the Great Barrier Reef.”A lot of these impacts we are seeing occurring now are occurring earlier than we had projected a few years ago.
“It is giving us some cause for concern that the climate system may be shifting a bit faster than we originally thought.”
Impact varies for each state
The report found the impact of extreme weather events in all states was likely to become much worse unless global greenhouse gas emissions were reduced rapidly and deeply.
In Brisbane, heatwaves are starting eight days earlier than in previous years.
The number of hot days above 35C per year is expected to increase from 12 per cent to 18 per cent by 2030. Maximum one-day rainfall is forecast to rise by up to 18 per cent by the end of the century.
Severe thunderstorms are expected to rise by 14 per cent for Brisbane by the end of the century.
Professor Steffen said tropical cyclones were also likely to increase in intensity, although there would not be more of them.
“They may even travel further southwards,” he said.
“There will be an increase in coastal flooding as well as sea levels.
“There is a projected net warming of sea surface temperature off the Australian coastline of 2 [degrees Celsius] to 4 [degrees Celsius] by 2090.
“In south-east Queensland over the next decade or two there is an increasing bushfire risk where there are forested areas.”……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-08/heatwaves-to-be-hotter-longer-and-more-often-report-says/8248304
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