When do we expect the climate to warm again?
A report published in Nature Climate Change has found that, on average, Australia’s average annual temperature will rise by 1.4C over the next 25 years.
This is a much smaller increase than the 2.2C rise predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The average global temperature in the world is now set to rise by 2.3C by 2100, with some areas, such as the tropics, already on track to warm by up to 2C.
But the report, authored by Dr Stephen Sherrard, a professor at the University of Queensland and the head of the Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University, suggests that Australia’s climate could become more like the tropic, and more like an arid zone, with more heatwaves, flooding, and droughts.
“Australia is now the fifth-most arid country in the Western Hemisphere, and in a warmer world, the Australian experience is more like that of the tropically arid deserts of the Southwest,” Dr Sherrord told the ABC.
“Our analysis shows that if Australia’s temperatures increase by 1C, the chance of Australia becoming an arctic nation in the next 50 years is very low.”
The study was conducted by the Climate Science Centre and the Centre for Regional Climate Change in the United Kingdom, which uses climate models to forecast how climate change will play out across Australia.
It found that the warming that the world has experienced over the past 15 years has caused significant changes in Australia’s vegetation, with trees in particular becoming more drought-tolerant and more susceptible to drought.
“As we move into the future, there is an increasing likelihood that Australia will experience longer droughtroughts, which will cause increased rates of drought and soil erosion,” the report found.
“We also see more extreme events, including flooding, which are increasingly likely to occur.”
Australia’s average temperature over the last 25 years, by region:The Climate Science Center/University of Queensland/Australian National University