Some reports blame Australia’s climate change on tourists, stating that passenger jets are the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas emissions. Others argue that visitors are innocent bystanders in a crisis triggered and maintained by the Australians themselves. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.
In 2013, the CSIRO, the country’s national science agency, reported that climate change is making Australia hotter, and that the anticipated byproducts are extreme heat alerts and longer fire seasons. Last year the Bureau of Meteorology logged a dramatic increase in nighttime temperatures as well as more brush fires and droughts.
No matter which agency is doing the reporting, the message is the same: Australia is surpassing the warming rate experienced by the rest of the world, and unless something is done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it’s only going to get worse.
How much worse? Read on.
Massive Heat Waves
Since 2001, the number of extreme heat alerts has exceeded cold weather warnings nearly three to one, and 2013 was the country’s warmest year on record. According to the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology, the average annual temperature in Australia will be up to 1.3℃ hotter in 2030 compared to the recorded average between 1986 and 2005.
The country’s interior will heat up more quickly than the coastal regions. The city of Alice Springs is expected to experience 40℃ temperatures for nearly three months a year, up from 17 days in 1995.
While rising temperatures will mean fewer deaths due to cold weather, there will still be negative consequences, such as more heatwave-related casualties, agricultural downturns, and dwindling water resources. Rainfall will also decrease in southern Australia up to 69% by 2090, leading to extreme droughts and greater danger of brush fires.
VanderWolf Images / Shutterstock.com