Issue: Climate variability and change - Weather

This is an issue under the Atmosphere theme of the Data Reporting System.

Why we need to know about this issue

Climate patterns, variability and change are of prime importance for the economic, social and environmental health of Australia. Weather conditions and climate variability have an impact on the environment and major economic activities such as agriculture and tourism. In addition, human-induced accelerated climate change has the potential to disrupt and destroy ecosystems. It is therefore, important to better understand and monitor weather patterns, variability and change.

Indicators

  • A-01 Annual variation in the Southern Oscillation Index 
    A number of studies indicate that the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) explains 30 - 40% of the year-to-year variability of Australia’s climate, particularly rainfall. The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) is a well-established measure of this phenomenon. El Niño events are associated with below-normal rainfall and often drought over much of northern and eastern Australia. They generally occur every two to seven years and are generally followed by La Niña events, which are associated with higher rainfall. Changes in the timing of these events may be indicative of longer term changes in climate.
  • A-02 Rainfall trends - annual mean rainfall 
    Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth. Its interior has one of the lowest rainfalls in the world and about three-quarters of the land is arid or semi-arid. Rainfall trends are important from an environmental and an economic perspective. For thousands of years, Australia has experienced strong year-to-year variations in rainfall. These natural variations and any more extreme variations or changes in the normal scope of variation that may result from anthropogenic climate change that may result from anthropogenic climate change are important indicators for the condition of the atmosphere.
  • A-03 Rainfall extremes - inter-annual variations in annual extreme rainfall 
    Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth. Its interior has one of the lowest rainfalls in the world and about three-quarters of the land is arid or semi-arid. Rainfall trends are important from an environmental and an economic perspective. For thousands of years, Australia has experienced strong year-to-year variations in rainfall.
  • A-04 Temperature trends - annual mean temperature anomalies 
    Trends in temperatures are an indicator of climate variability and change that in turn will have an impact on our human, economic and environmental health.
  • A-05 Temperature extremes - percentage area of extreme annual mean temperatures 
    Trends in temperatures and their spatial distribution are an indicator of climate variability and change, which in turn have an impact on our human, economic and environmental health.
  • A-06 Extreme weather-related effects - cost of weather-related disasters 
    This indicator indicates the direct costs of cyclones, hailstorms, storms, flooding and bushfire to the Australian economy. This is a proxy indicator for the severity and frequency of weather-related disasters.
  • A-36 Rainfall extremes - percentage area experiencing extreme wet and dry conditions 
    Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth. Its interior has one of the lowest rainfalls in the world and about three-quarters of the land is arid or semi-arid. Rainfall trends are important from an environmental and an economic perspective. For thousands of years, Australia has experienced strong year-to-year variations in rainfall. Changes in rainfall extremes give an indication of change beyond the normal extreme climate variations.
  • A-37 Temperature trends - spatial trend in mean annual temperatures 
    Trends in temperatures and their spatial distribution are an indicator of climate variability and change, which in turn have an impact on our human, economic and environmental health.
  • A-47 Rainfall deficiencies - drought 
    This indicator shows the level of rainfall deficiency for Australia spatially and over time. This gives an indication of the level of drought conditions in Australia; drought being an ongoing factor for Australia’s climate patterns, which has important economic, social and environmental implications.

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