This summer the south west of Western Australia has experienced a record series of heatwaves - eight, and climate trends during the last four decades show a rise in temperatures and a drying climate. According too the Weather Bureau and CSIRO WA's south west is drying faster than other part of the country and scientists say it will have a transforming effect on agriculture and the habitats, and there will be an increased risk of bushfires.
Related: CSIRO - State of the Climate 2012 | Climate Commission - Climate change impacts for Western Australia and report (PDF) |
Warrup forest, UN Year of the Forests, climate change, Inter-governmental panel
The government agency, the Climate Commission, said that significant changes in the pattern of rainfall over Western Australia have occurred over the past 40 years. A spokesman said, "There has been a strong rise in average temperature across the state by about 0.8 degrees over the past century."
"The south west corner of the state has become markedly drier, with a 15% reduction in rainfall since the mid-1970s."
The decline in annual rainfall has been raised as a major issue by the Bridgetown-Greenbushes Friends of the Forests and by the Conservation Council in the classification of forests in reference to logging, and the Forest Products Commissions acknowledges there may have to be a reclassification - A 900 mm annual rainfall in the 1950s for Warrup forest is now heading to 650 mm annually.
The Weather Bureau and CSIRO will release a report that confirms the rising land and sea temperatures and that rainfall is shifting from the south to more northern latitudes. The report will include the dramatic trends that average temperatures will increase by up to 1.5 celsius by 2030 and by between another 1.0 to 5.0 celsius by 2070 with the brunt of the harshest effects felt in the south west and including Perth.
2010 was considered the driest year to date however trends indicate that most years of this decade will exceed the dryness of 2010.
Rising greenhouses in the atmosphere and rising acidification of our Australian oceans and seas were reported to have been caused by humans. CSIRO chief executive officer, Megan Clark said the report speaks for itself and is not politically motivated, the organisation is demarcated from political influences. "This is something we do every two years, and we will continue to do it every two years," said Dr Clark.
WA Farmers president-elect Dale Park acknowledges the challenges from climate change and that farmers are feeling the effects however they are trying to find ways to deal with lower rainfall and the dryness.
The Climate Commission inclines an urge for strategies to be considered to meet the drying future and that state governments, shires, agricultural and farming cooperatives should plan from now - and which should include further improving yield produce with new technology and management practices, the installation of desalination plants, educating community and in terms of consumption, and government agencies need to ensure practices that diminish the rates of soil erosion and the drying of forests, and this may mean less logging, and ensuring forests are preserved as carbon stores.
For south west residents and the children of the next generation, facing up to a drying climate, one which may impact tourism and health, the Climate Commission said now is the time act, "This is the critical decade for action. The choices we make between now and 2020 will shape our future. To minimise climate change risks we must begin to de-carbonise our economy and move to cleaner energy sources this decade. The longer we wait the more difficult and costly it will be. Western Australia has abundant potential for expanding renewable energy generation, with some of the best wind and solar resources in Australia."
Image: Red tingle forests are threatened by Climate change. Photo by Takver from Wikipedia. Creative Commons.