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EnvironmentSocial issues

Australia’s Temperature In Flames

– by Cesilia Faustina

Perth’s 44°C-greeting at the start of the year marks one of the first warnings of the effects of climate change as Australia is expected to face high rises in temperature and extreme weather patterns in years to come.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has released new research stating Australia is facing hotter temperatures than the rest of the world. The country is thought to experience an increase of five degrees Celsius by the end of the century. CSIRO claims that Australia will experience a 5.1 degree Celsius increase by 2090 if no actions are taken to reduce greenhouse emissions.

The CSIRO have expressed their concern regarding the rise of temperature within 20 years and also other extreme effects of climate change, such as the rise of sea levels and increasing floods – something they blame highly on the increase of gas emissions by human activity.

Data from the Bureau of Meteorology also showed that 2014 was the third hottest year in record for Australia, reaching 0.91°C above average temperature. It is likely to be the beginning of Australia’s so-called “hot” years.

“There is very high confidence that hot days will become more frequent and hotter,” said CSIRO principal research scientist Kevin Hennessy. “We also have very high confidence that sea levels will rise, oceans will become more acidic, and snow depths will decline.”

Visible signs of these changes would include hot temperatures throughout the day – such as recent temperatures in WA upward of 40°C, severe lightning, random showers, and multiple bushfires.

Australia today is facing heavy rainfalls across the east coast and thunderstorm and flood warnings for parts of NSW.

Other concerns include the occurrence of severe floods, such as the one that engulfed Queensland four years ago. New research by CSIRO has also revealed that Australia will be likely to experience such floods by the effect of La Nina. La Nina is the extensive cooling of the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. It is usually associated with floods towards Australia, New Guinea, the Western Pacific Islands and vast areas of Southeast Asia and China, and occurs in extreme phases every 13 years.

According to an international team of scientists led by Wenju Cai of CSIRO, the La Nina phase will remain at the same level over the century, but the number of extreme cases will rise dramatically.

The causes of these occurrences have always been speculated to lie within human responsibility, such as increasing carbon emissions. Australia in particular is facing more pressure than ever to make a change.

New South Wales, alongside South Australia and Tasmania, has recently signed up with The Climate Group. The Climate Group is an international non-profit organisation bringing communities, governments, and businesses together to promote renewable energy and cut carbon emissions.

Australia has also pledged $200 million to the United Nation’s Green Climate Fund and Abbott has promised $2.55 billion to a domestic initiative to reduce the carbon emission by five per cent by 2020.

Photo credit: Tobias Sieben

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