The IPCC report provides the most up-to-date physical understanding of the climate system and climate change, bringing together the latest advances in climate science and multiple lines of evidence.
The report confirms what we have all known that temperatures and sea levels are rising at a disturbing rate. Unfortunately, even with the commitments made at the UN Paris Agreement further action is required.
Key Australian statistical highlights below:
- Australia (land area) has warmed up more than global average – around 1.4°C and in some areas this increase was around 0.3°C per decade since 1960 or close to 2 degrees.
- 2019 was Australia’s hottest year on record and nine out of ten warmest years on record occurring since 2005 (Trewin et al., 2020).
- Warming is virtually certain to continue, with a magnitude roughly equal to the global average temperature so in this framework, Australasia (land only) is projected to warm by 1.4°C to 1.8°C for the 1.5°C warming level, through to 3.9°C to 4.8°C for the 4°C warming level from the 1850–1900 baseline. Projected warming is greater over inland Australia than coastal regions.
- More frequent hot extremes and heatwaves are expected over the 21st century in Australia (virtually certain)
- Heat thresholds potentially affecting agriculture and health, such as 35°C or 40°C, are also projected to be exceeded more frequently over the 21st century in Australia under all RCPs (high confidence).
- By 2090 under RCP4.5, the average number of days per year with maximum temperatures above 35°C is expected to increase by 50%–100%.
- By 2090 the number of days per year with maximum temperatures above 40°C is expected to increase by 200%, relative to 1985-2005 (CSIRO and 26 BOM, 2015).
- A significant reduction in annual mean rainfall in southwest Australia is projected, with the greatest reduction in winter and spring (very likely, high confidence).
- There is also evidence that under 1.5°C warming, central and northeast Australia is projected to become wetter, however this projection has low confidence.
- Under future warming, the snowpack in Australia is projected to decrease by approximately 15% and 60% by 2030 and 2070
- Observations in Australia show that the snow season length has decreased by 5% in the last five decades. Furthermore, the date of peak snowfall in Australia has advanced by 11 days
Official summaries from IPCC for Australasia can be accessed here. – PowerPoint Presentation (ipcc.ch)
Read full report – Sixth Assessment Report (ipcc.ch)
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