(I will be updating this page with Australian climate reports as they come out)
Australia’s climate FOES (Famine, Oceans, Extinctions, Storms)
For decades, higher average temperatures have been experienced across WA, and below average rainfall in the west coast and the south-west land division. Some estimate autumn and winter rainfall to drop by 50% over the next several decades.
These cause several problems including heatwaves, water insecurity and drought.
Heatwaves are a significant but underestimated killer. Since 1890, they have caused more deaths in Australia than the combined effect of bushfires, cyclones, earthquakes, floods and storms. Continuing heatwaves could cause hundreds more deaths each year by 2050. Over last 40 years, average annual inflow into Perth dams has fallen dramatically and the supply-demand water gap is widening. WA’s Department of Water estimate that, by 2050, water demand in urban areas across the state will outstrip supply by 250 gigalitres each year. Agricultural water supplies (surface and ground water) have fallen in the south-west.
It is a similar story in south-eastern Australia, with higher average temperatures and below average rainfall. Rainfall has reduced by 11% in the April-October growing seasons since the mid-1990’s, and was particularly bad during the Millennium Drought. Drying of the Murray-Darling Basin is seen as increased “browning” in this Google Earth Engine time-lapse video from 1984-2016, particularly since 2002. If greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, irrigated agriculture production in the Murray-Darling Basin is estimated to fall by 92% by the end of this century.
The risk of droughts being more frequent and more severe is increasing, which will reduce agricultural yields and place ever-increasing pressure on farmers and food production. Increasing drought severity has also been found to be associated with an increased suicide risk in 30-49 year old rural males compared with those living in urban areas.
From Online Opinion Jan 2017
This paper reveals that with just a rise of 2°C in global average temperatures, Australia will see a 11.3-30% intensification in rainfall from extreme precipitation events. This will occur even as some areas may become increasingly drought prone…
…The paper also went beyond the 2°C international Paris Agreement target, looking at what would happen with a 4°C rise in global temperature, which is a likely outcome based on current increases in the rate of carbon emissions. It produced a projected increase in rainfall for extreme events of 22-60%.
From Physics news Jan 2017