Indicator: A-41 Greenhouse - climate change projections

Data

Ranges of average annual warming(°C) for around 2030 and 2070 relative to 1990

Ranges of average annual warming(deg;C) for around 2030 and 2070 relative to 1990

Source: CSIRO Atmospheric Research 2001, Climate Change Projections for Australia, viewed 22 Mar 2006, http://www.cmar.csiro.au/e-print/open/projections2pp.pdf

Range of annual average rainfall change(%) for around 2030 and 2070 relative to1990

Range of annual average rainfall change(%) for around 2030 and 2070 relative to1990

Source: CSIRO Atmospheric Research 2001, Climate Change Projections for Australia, viewed 22 Mar 2006, http://www.cmar.csiro.au/e-print/open/projections2pp.pdf

Table 1: Climate Change Projections for annual average maximum temperature 1
Now 2030 2070
Alice Spring 28.6 29.8 ± 0.8 32.1 ± 2.5
Adelaide 21.4 22.4 ± 0.7 24.4 ± 2.2
Brisbane 25.5 26.5 ± 0.7 28.5 ± 2.2
Broome 32.2 33.4 ± 0.8 35.7 ± 2.5
Cairns 28.9 29.9 ± 0.7 31.9 ± 2.2
Darwin 31.9 33.1 ± 0.8 35.4 ± 2.5
Melbourne 19.8 20.8 ± 0.7 22.8 ± 2.2
Perth 23.3 24.3 ± 0.7 26.3 ± 2.2
Sydney 22.1 23.3 ± 0.8 25.6 ± 2.5

1 The quoted uncertainties represent the full range obtained from nine different climate models and forty emissions scenarios.

Source: CSIRO and AGO 2002, Future Climate Change in Australia, viewed 22 Mar 2006, http://www.cmar.csiro.au/e-print/open/cechet_2002a.pdf

Table 2: Climate change projections for Dec-Feb days above 35°C
Now 2030 2070
Alice Spring 55 63 ± 5 73 ± 11
Adelaide 10 13.5 ± 2.5 21 ± 7
Brisbane 2.5 4.5 ± 1.5 20 ± 15
Broome 17 36 ± 17 57 ± 30
Cairns 3 5.5 ± 2.5 41 ± 35
Darwin 1 7.5 ± 5.5 42 ± 37
Melbourne 8 10.5 ± 1.5 15 ± 5
Perth 15 19 ± 3 29 ± 10
Sydney 2 3 ± 1 7 ± 4

Source: CSIRO and AGO 2002, Future Climate Change in Australia, viewed 22 Mar 2006, http://www.cmar.csiro.au/e-print/open/cechet_2002a.pdf

Table 3: Climate change projections for annual rainfall (mm)
Now 2030 2070
Alice Spring 285 295 ± 20 315 ± 65
Adelaide 454 435 ± 35 400 ± 110
Brisbane 1146 1100 ± 90 1010 ± 275
Broome 596 570 ± 95 525 ± 285
Cairns 2028 1945 ± 160 1785 ± 485
Darwin 1710 1710 ± 70 1710 ± 205
Melbourne 657 630 ± 50 580 ± 155
Perth 869 800 ± 105 660 ± 310
Sydney 1102 1070 ± 70 970 ± 265

Source: CSIRO and AGO 2002, Future Climate Change in Australia, viewed 22 Mar 2006, http://www.cmar.csiro.au/e-print/open/cechet_2002a.pdf

Source: CSIRO Atmospheric Research 2001, Climate Change Projections for Australia, viewed 22 Mar 2006, http://www.cmar.csiro.au/e-print/open/projections2pp.pdf

What the data mean

Figure 1 shows simulated ranges of warming for Australia. By 2030, annual average temperatures are 0.4 to 2.0°C higher over most of Australia, with slightly less warming in some coastal areas and Tasmania, and the potential for greater warming in the north-west.

By 2070, annual average temperatures are increased by 1.0 to 6.0°C over most of Australia with spatial variation similar to those for 2030. The range of warming is greatest in spring and least in winter. In the north-west, the greatest potential warming occurs in summer.

Model results indicate that future increases in daily maximum and minimum temperature will be similar to the changes in average temperature. This contrasts with the greater increase in minima than maxima observed over Australia in the 20th century.

Changes in daily temperature extremes can be influenced by changes in daily variability and changes in average maximum or minimum temperature. CSIRO modelling results for Australia indicate that future changes in variability are relatively small and the increases in average maximum and minimum temperature mainly determine the change in extremes.

Figure 2 shows changes in annual average rainfall for around 2030 and 2070, relative to 1990. Changes tend toward a decrease in the south-west (-20% to +5% by 2030 and -60% to +10% by 2070), and in parts of the south-east and Queensland (-10% to +5% by 2030 and -35% to +10% by 2070). Most other locations show changes that vary from -10% to +10% by 2030 and -35% to +35% by 2070.

Source: CSIRO Atmospheric Research 2001, Climate Change Projections for Australia, viewed 22 Mar 2006, http://www.cmar.csiro.au/e-print/open/projections2pp.pdf.

Tables 1, 2 and 3 show projections for temperatures and rainfall for various Australian cities for 2030 and 2070 estimated by CSIRO and the Australian Greenhouse Office. They have projected that temperatures will increase by around 1 degree by 2030 (± 0.8) and by between 3 and 3.5 degrees by 2070 (± 2.5). In terms of rainfall, most locations show a 4% decrease in rainfall by 2030 and a 12% decrease by 2070.

Data Limitations

The projections are based on results from computer models that involve simplifications of real physical processes that are not fully understood. The data represents scenarios based on assumptions. Different assumptions may produce different results.

Issues for which this is an indicator and why

Atmosphere — Climate variability and change - Greenhouse 

Greenhouse gas emissions and atmospheric concentrations are measurable, and provide insight into the potential for climate change. Weather phenomena are also measurable but may be indicative of either climate change or of natural fluctuations. Neither provides useful insight into what we may expect in terms of long-term changes of climate. Modelling of how climate might be changing and might change over the course of the next century is probably the only useful indicator for this.

Other indicators for this issue:

Land — Contributions and pressures between the land and the atmosphere - Climate 

Climate change projections can assist in the analysis of climatic pressures and climate driven changes to the land and terrestrial biodiversity.

Other indicators for this issue:

Coasts and Oceans — Contributions and pressures between the coasts and oceans and the atmosphere - Climate and carbon dioxide 

Climate change projections can assist in the analysis of climatic pressures on the oceans and marine biodiversity.

Other indicators for this issue:

Coasts and Oceans — Condition of the ocean and coastal waters - Climatic and carbon dioxide factors 

Climate change projections can assist in the analysis of climate driven changes to the condition of the oceans and marine biodiversity.

Other indicators for this issue:

Biodiversity — Pressures on biodiversity - Climate variability 

Climate change projections can assist in the analysis of climatic pressures and climate driven changes to terrestrial, aquatic and marine biodiversity.

Other indicators for this issue:

Inland Waters — Catchment scale influences - Influence of climate variability and change 

Climate change projections can assist in the analysis of climatic pressures and climate driven changes to freshwater systems and aquatic biodiversity.

Other indicators for this issue:

Human Settlements — Services provided by the environment to human settlements - Air 

A tolerable climate is one of the key services provided to human settlements by the atmosphere. Greenhouse gas projections provide information on changes in the capacity of the atmosphere to provide that service.

Further Information