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Climate trends demand better response to drought, says CSIRO

 
Drought in Queensland, Australia

Record rainfall lows have been experienced across much of central Queensland, Northern Territory, South Australia, Victoria and WA. Photograph: AAP

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Climate trends demand better response to drought, says CSIRO” was written by Oliver Milman, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 18th February 2014 02.07 UTC

Australia needs a better response to drought in the face of climate trends that will transform agricultural regions and see many farms disappear, the CSIRO has warned.

The government’s science agency said that observed changes in rainfall are occurring at a more rapid rate than was previously predicted. These changes could see a continuing trend of farm closures and shift farming towards wetter coastal areas.

Tony Abbott has just completed a “listening tour” of drought-affected areas of Queensland and NSW, meeting farmers who haven’t had significant rainfall for nearly two years. The government is putting together an assistance package for farmers, although Abbott has dismissed any link between drought and climate change.

In 2007, the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology made a number of predictions around annual rainfall to 2070, based on three different global warming scenarios. Even under the low emissions scenario, vast areas of Australia, including much of Victoria and Western Australia, are set to experience much less rainfall by 2070. Separate modelling by CSIRO shows WA will bear the heaviest reduction in rainfall up to 2070.

Australia's Rainfall Changes

Rainfall projections under low, medium, and high emission scenarios for different seasons, modelled by CSIRO and BoM based on IPCC scenarios.

Evaporation rates, caused by extremely warm days, are also expected to soar, particularly in eastern and northern Australia.

Australia's Evapotranspiration Changes

How evapotranspiration (a combination of evaporation from soil, plant and other sources) may vary under different climate change scenarios. Modelled by CSIRO and BoM based on IPCC scenarios.

 

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