Sydney: Australia’s climate has warmed on average by 1.47 degree since 1910, which leads to more increase in the frequency of extreme heat events over land and sea, warned the state of the climate report 2022.
The report was released on Wednesday by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology, has found that there has been a decline of around 15 per cent in April to October rainfall in the southwest of Australia since 1970.
“Across the same region, May to July rainfall has seen the largest decrease, by around 19 per cent since 1970” it said.
The report said there has been increase in extreme fire weather and longer fire season across large part of the country since the 1950s.
Speaking about the report, Minister for the Environment and Water Tanaya Plibersek said, “Australia is experiencing climate change now, with impacts being felt by many communities, ecosystems and industry sectors”.
“The State of the Climate report draws on the latest climate monitoring, science and projection information to describe changes and long-term trends in Australia’s climate” she added.
“The government is acting on climate change. We believe the science. We’ve already legislated our 43% emissions reduction target and are investing in transforming our energy systems. For our environment, for our communities, this report reinforces the urgent need for climate action.” The minister said.
The Director of CSIRO’s Climate Science Centre, Dr Jaci Brown, said concentrations of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, are at the highest levels seen 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,” Dr Brown said.
The report finds marine life is experiencing longer and more frequent heatwaves and oceans are acidifying about 10 times faster than at any time over the past 300m years. The acidification is caused by the extra CO2 in the air above.
As the oceans heat up, sea levels are rising around the continent at an annual rate of 2-3mm in most places and as much as 7-8mm in the Gulf of Carpentaria and the waters around Sydney.
Several glaciers in the west of Antarctica are destabilised, the report says, and glaciers and ice sheets around the world are melting, further adding to sea levels.
” The rate of accumulation of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) (both greenhouse gases) in the atmosphere increased considerably during 2020 and 2021” report mentioned.
The largest area of sea ice recorded by satellites around Antarctica was in September 2014, but since then there has been a “marked, abrupt and relatively persistent decrease” in sea-ice extent, which in early 2022 fell below 2m sq km for the first time since observations began.
“Global mean sea levels have risen by around 25 cm since 1880 and continue to rise at an accelerating rate, adding that the Oceans around Australia are acidifying and have warmed by more than 1 °C since 1900, contributing to longer and more frequent marine heatwaves.
“Sea levels are rising around Australia, including more frequent extremes that are increasing the risk of inundation and damage to coastal infrastructure and communities” it said.
The report says most of the current trends are set to get worse, with more heat, higher sea levels, longer droughts and more intense rainfall events.