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Australian Climate Study Warns of More Extreme Conditions


FILE - James Taylor and Joshua Myers paddle kayaks down a flooded residential street on their way to check on a friend's home, after heavy rains inundated the area with floodwaters in the McGraths Hill suburb of Sydney, Australia, July 6, 2022.

Australia’s latest official climate survey says that days of extreme heat are becoming more frequent and sea levels continue to rise. The State of the Climate report is released jointly by the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO, the national science agency. It blames rising greenhouse gas emissions for warmer temperatures.

The State of the Climate report is published every two years. Released Wednesday, the 2022 study states that Australia’s climate has warmed by about 1.5 degrees Celsius since national records began in 1910.

The report anticipates more frequent heatwaves and more intense heavy rainfall. It asserts that bushfire seasons will be longer and increasingly dangerous. The study said the severity of warmer temperatures would “depend on the speed at which global greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced.”

Even a downturn in industry and transport during the COVID-19 pandemic, the research found, has not been enough to slow global warming.

Jaci Brown is a senior research scientist and the director of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, or CSIRO’s Climate Science Center. She told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. Wednesday that climatic conditions in Australia would become more intense.

“Australia, as you know, we’re droughts, we’re floods and we just alternate between those two and it is the fact that we are going to see more of those and it is happening in more extreme ways,” said Brown.

Parts of eastern Australia remain on flood alert after record-breaking rainfall.

One of the many vehicles swept away during a flash flood, sits embedded in a tree in the town of Eugowra, Central West New South Wales, Australia, Nov. 15, 2022.
One of the many vehicles swept away during a flash flood, sits embedded in a tree in the town of Eugowra, Central West New South Wales, Australia, Nov. 15, 2022.

Associate professor Ailie Gallant, from Monash University, told local media that the report highlighted “clear evidence” that Australia’s climate is changing, and said “deep and aggressive cuts” to carbon emissions were needed.

Australia’s Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic told reporters Wednesday that the research reinforced “the urgent need for action on climate change.”

For the first time, Australia has a legislated target to cut greenhouse gas output.

In August, new laws were passed by the federal parliament in Canberra that would cut carbon emissions by 43% by 2030.

Australia has been one of the world’s worst per capita emitters of greenhouse pollution. Coal and gas still generate most of its electricity.

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