The Outlook | Long term weather variability to increase

Long term weather variability to increase


Weather
Over the next decade NSW can expect higher temperatures.

Over the next decade NSW can expect higher temperatures.

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The world is a much warmer place than it was 50 years ago and the vast majority of scientists believe this warming trend will continue at a possible increasing rate in the coming years.

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The world is a much warmer place than it was 50 years ago and the vast majority of scientists believe this warming trend will continue at a possible increasing rate in the coming years.

The reasons for this warming are almost certainly due to human activity and some of the consequences of such warming are unknown.

So accepting the fact that we will be living in a warmer world, the need to work out how to cope and possibly even benefit from it becomes more important.

It is likely that a feature of warmer worldwide temperatures could be greater variability.

We are already seeing this with an increase in the strongest major storm systems such as cyclones  and hurricanes and only a slight decrease in weaker ones.

Despite average temperatures increasing, many parts of the northern hemisphere have experienced brief but very significant cold and snowy spells as well.

Most models for Australia indicate a warmer temperature regime will see increase rainfall in NW Australia, more significant “one off” rain events in the east of the continent and drier weather especially in the winter months in the south of Australia.

Such a scenario would cause problems for some but overall should not be too bad for Australian agriculture.

Marginal areas for farming might have to change more to pastoral activities and a greater awareness of droughts might require better preparation in the “good” years, but all that is possible.

So, over the next decade NSW can expect higher temperatures, especially in spring and summer, more severe storms in spring and early summer, greater variability – meaning some heavy rain events interspersed by long periods of moisture stress, brief but significant cold bursts in winter and an increasing chance of a decaying tropical cyclone reaching the NSW north coast.  

However, it is not all doom and gloom with some dry parts of the country becoming a little wetter. 

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