Australia facing more heat, droughts: landmark climate report

Extreme weather events are becoming more severe and more common in Australia, a landmark climate report has warned.

The national science agency Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) on Wednesday published their biennial State of the Climate report, revealing the continent has warmed by 1.47 degrees Celsius since 1910.

According to the report, sea levels around Australia’s coast are rising at an accelerating rate, heatwaves are becoming more frequent and bushfire season is growing longer.

There were 33 days in 2019 when the maximum temperature in Australia exceeded 39 degrees Celsius, more than the previous 59 years combined.

The eight years between 2013 and 2020 all rank in Australia’s 10 warmest years on record.

Sea surface temperatures in the Australian region have increased by an average of 1.05 degrees Celsius since 1900.

In the Gulf of Carpentaria and around Sydney, sea levels are rising by seven to eight millimeters every year.

Snow depth, snow cover and the number of snow days in alpine regions have decreased since the 1950s.

A decrease in cool season rainfall across southern and eastern Australia is projected to lead to more time in drought.

Tanya Plibersek, minister for the Environment and Water, said it reinforces the need for action.

“This report is sobering reading,” she said.

“Australia is experiencing climate change now, with impacts being felt by many communities, ecosystems and industry sectors.”

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