How global warming affects disaster potential in Australia

Forecasts that measure the effects of global warming on Australia suggest it will negatively impact the Australian environment, economy and our communities.

How vulnerable is Australia?

climate change and bushfiresAccording to a Stern report, Australia is one of the countries’ most vulnerable to climate change over the next 50-100 years. This is partially due to our reliance on agriculture, tourism and populated coastline.

With arid, semi-arid areas, high annual rainfall variability, and pressures on water supply this leaves Australia with a high fire risk.

Impacts of climate change will be complex and to some degree uncertain, but increased foresight may enable the country to safeguard its future through planned mitigation and adaptation.

Mitigation may reduce the ultimate extent of climate change and its impacts, but requires global solutions and cooperation, while adaptation can be performed at national and local levels.

In a recent Climate Council press release the earths’ climate has hit a dangerous milestone with new research by the UK Met office showing we’ve crossed the halfway point towards a global temperature rise of 2°C. The Climate Council have already announced the increased bushfire risk in NSW and extreme fire weather has increased in the past 30 years.

Hot, dry conditions have a major influence on bushfires. Climate change is making hot days hotter, and heatwaves longer and more frequent, with increasing drought conditions in Australia’s southeast.

2013 was Australia’s hottest year on record and in NSW the annual mean temperature was 1.23ºC above average. The summer of 2013/14 was also the driest summer that Sydney has experienced in 27 years. These conditions are driving up the likelihood of very high fire danger weather in the State.

Climate change will be discussed at the 5th Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference. The Conference will be held at Jupiters Gold Coast, QLD 30-31 May 2016.

The Conference theme ‘EARTH, FIRE and RAIN’ will continue to examine issues that impact preparedness, resilience, response and capability. To register for the 2016 Conference CLICK HERE.