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Climate Explosion Down Under

  • March 15th, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

uluru.jpg“More extremely hot days, fewer cold ones, wetter in the north and drier in the south: This is not a forecast for Australia’s climate but a snapshot of our climate now.”

That declaration heads a joint report by the two leading climate research agencies in Australia, identifying human activity as central to the turn-around in global climate fortunes.

PULLING OUT THE BIG GUNS

The main Australian scientific research agency, the CSIRO, and the national Bureau of Meteorology, have produced a joint report affirming the extent of radical change, with steady warming and increasingly extreme bad weather events.

It reads in part:

“Australia’s two lead climate science agencies have produced a snapshot of the state of the climate to update Australians about how their climate has changed and what it means.

“Changes observed include:

* Highly variable rainfall across the country, with substantial increases in rainfall in northern and central parts of Australia, as well as significant decreases across much of southern and eastern Australia.

* Rapidly rising sea levels from 1993 to 2009, with levels around Australia rising, between 1.5 and 3mm per year in Australia’s south and east and between 7 and 10mm in the country’s north.”

CSIRO

The Chief Executive of the CSIRO, Dr Megan Clark, said there was no doubt human activity was behind climate change.

After the hottest recorded decade in the continent, with temperature averages up by 2% since 1960, the reality of climate change was unquestionable.

“Understanding options for mitigation and adaptation are important research priorities for us”, she said.

“With this snapshot, Australians will be better prepared for the next step of planning for how to adapt to a changing climate and how to also take action to reduce the impacts of climate change.

“CSIRO has been working with industry and in sectors of the economy such as agriculture to prepare for and implement necessary changes.”

BUREAU

The Director of the Bureau of Meteorology, Dr Greg Ayers, said observations being made in Australia were based on high quality evidence.

“Australia holds one of the best national climate records in the world,” he said.

“The Bureau’s been responsible for keeping that record for more than a hundred years and it’s there for anyone and everyone to see, use and analyse.”

DEBATES

Facts as set out by the scientific agencies won’t satisfy everybody in  Australia, where as elsewhere climate change doubters continue a vocal campaign.

Agreement in national policy making on climate issues broke down last November when the Opposition Liberal party dismissed its leadership, over objections to it negotiating an emissions trading scheme with the Labor government.

The scheme remains before parliament; the Opposition has foreshadowed a plan for promoting use of renewable energy instead.

University researchers in  the climate field have promptly endorsed the official “snapshot” on the warming of the continent, here and there with a sense of relief.

“There’s been serious tabloid junking of science and research”, said Prof. Peter Coaldrake, Chairman of the educational peak body, Universities Australia.

Reference

Australian Government – Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne,  “Climate snapshot: State of the Climate published”, media release (jointly with CSIRO), 15.3.10.

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Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation  (CSIRO), Canberra, “CSIRO Climate Change”, backgrounder, http://www.csiro.au/science/Climate-Change.html, (15.3.10).

CSIRO, Canberra, “New state of the art climate snapshot”, 15.3.10. http://www.csiro.au/, (15.3.10).

Sarah Clarke, “Weather bureau backs climate change verdict”, ABC News, Sydney, 15.3.10

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/03/15/2846524.htm?section=justin, (15.3.10)

Michael Perry, Sydney, “Climate report shows Australia getting warmer”, Reuters UK, 15.3.10. http://uk.reuters.com/articleidUKTRE62E14Z20100315, (15.3.10).

Picture   cap.nsw.edu.au

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