History and science shows climate change is inevitable and could serve some serious consequences for the Eyre Peninsula, like rising sea levels and changing rain variability.
Bureau of Meteorology senior climatologist Darren Ray spoke at last week’s Nature of Eyre Conference and said climate change was already a reality but there were opportunities to reduce the impact.
“The really key thing with climate change is that we have an opportunity to reduce emissions in the next 20 to 30 years and minimise the amount of future change that we get,” Mr Ray said.
“If we do reduce emissions quite strongly, take up the opportunities that renewable energy offers, the temperature rises and rainfall changes stabilise from about 2050 onwards but if we don't reduce emissions we see warming and drying continually well beyond 2100.”
He said sea level rise would be a concern for the Eyre Peninsula due to its surrounding oceans and the current rise of 4mm per year sea level rise “does add up”.
“Over the last 25 years we’ve probably seen 10cm of sea level rise along the Eyre Peninsula coast, but the future projections are for that rate of rise to increase, we’re starting to see some indications of that,” he said.
“Research shows serious concern over the next several hundred years and projections are now talking about around one metre by 2100 and there is recent research showing some real concern about multi-metre sea level rise over the next several hundred years that we may already be locked in for.”
Mr Ray said looking forward in terms of climate projections, the bureau was starting to see a drying period in April to October
“So we’ve got warmer temperatures and we’re starting to see more heat extremes.
“The tropics are widening so that means the cold fronts are staying further south and we’re seeing this drying pattern through April to October in Southern Australia,” he said.
Mr Ray said advances in paleoclimate research (looking at climate conditions hundreds and thousands of years ago) and looking at patterns of variability called Southern Angular Mode (measure of cold frontal systems south of Australia) meant the bureau was able to provide more accurate rainfall predictions.
“We can actually link up the Eyre Peninsula’s climate to some of this newer paleoclimate research which is coming through, going back thousands of years.”
He said this meant farmers in the region would be able to incorporate those predicted climate conditions into management decisions on a year-to-year basis.
To see Mr Ray’s full presentation on the region’s climate history, visit www.eyretribune.com.au.