25 November 2022

State of the Climate: Dangerous weather events becoming less rare for Canberra and southern NSW

| Claire Fenwicke
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Smoke from the North Black Range Palerang fire west of Braidwood during the Black Summer (2019-20) bushfires. Photo: Jarrah Knowles.

An increase in extreme heat waves, intense heavy rainfall, longer fire seasons and sea level rise: that’s what’s been highlighted in the latest State of the Climate report.

The biennial paper released by the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO warned Australians would experience “ongoing changes” to the country’s weather and climate, particularly in the southern and eastern regions.

Australia’s climate has warmed by 1.47 degrees on average since national records began in 1910, while sea surface temperatures have gone up on average by 1.05 degrees since 1900.

“[We’re projected to experience a] continued decrease, on average, in cool season rainfall across many regions of southern and eastern Australia, which will likely lead to more time in drought, but with ongoing climate variability that will give rise to short-duration heavy-rainfall events,” the report stated.

“[There’s also a] continued increase in the number of dangerous fire weather days and a longer fire season for southern and eastern Australia.”

ACT Climate Change Council chair Professor Mark Howden put it in layman’s terms:

“For this part of the world, there’s not a lot of joy,” he said.

“The difference between wet and dry years is set to increase, with wetter wet years and harder, more problematic droughts.”

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He said the paper showed a continuation of what had been shown in previous reports, which was that climate variability continued to increase.

This was driven in part by climate factors such as La Nina, El Nino, the Indian Ocean Dipole and the Southern Ocean influences, but risk factors as a result of climate change also played a part.

“Whether it’s rainfall variability or temperature extremes, the combination of these things is driving more fire risk,” Prof Howden said.

“It’s that combination of very hot, very dry and also very windy conditions associated with cold front intensifying.”

The report found there’s been an increase in extreme fire weather, and a longer fire season, in large parts of the country since the 1950s.

Meanwhile there’s been a decrease for south-east Australia in April to October rainfall of about 10 per cent since the late 1990s, and snow depth, snow cover and the number of snow days have decreased in alpine regions since the late 1950s.

The change in the annual (July to June) number of days that the Forest Fire Danger Index exceeds the 90th percentile between the periods of July 1950 to June 1986 and July 1986 to June 2022. Photo: State of the Climate 2022.

There’s also a concerning trend around how dangerous our fire seasons are becoming.

“The frequency of dangerous fire weather days has increased significantly in recent decades across many regions of Australia, especially in the south and east,” the report said.

“There is a significant trend in some regions of southern Australia towards more days with weather that is conducive to extreme bushfires, which can in turn generate thunderstorms within smoke plumes.

“These fire-generated thunderstorms can lead to extremely dangerous fire conditions, such as during the Australian Black Summer fires (2019-20), the Canberra fires (2003) and the Victorian Black Saturday fires (2009).”

Prof Howden said this was concerning as this risk had “increased significantly”.

“These [fire storms] have gone from being something that wasn’t largely reported to now becoming a common occurrence, so that’s reason to be concerned,” he said.

The report found heavy rainfall events – which occur in less than a day – are becoming more intense, with the duration of short (hourly) extreme rainfall events increasing in some regions by 10 per cent or more.

This was because the warmer the atmosphere, the more water it could hold.

“This relationship alone can increase moisture in the atmosphere by 7 per cent per degree of warming, all other things being equal,” the report stated.

“This can cause an increased likelihood of heavy rainfall events, even in parts of Australia where average rainfall is expected to decrease.”

The rate of offshore sea level rise around Australia measured using satellite altimetry from 1993-2020. Photo: State of the Climate 2022.

Sea levels are also rising, which has increased the risk of inundation and damage to coastal infrastructure and communities.

Based on observations since 1993, the rates of sea level rise to the north and south-east of Australia have been “significantly higher” than the global average.

“We’re also seeing more wave energy, which means they are stronger and have more erosion power,” Prof Howden said.

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But it shouldn’t be all gloom and doom.

Prof Howden pointed to the ACT’s efforts as a global leader in both climate policy and action to reduce greenhouse gases.

He also said we needed to start adapting to the changes we’re seeing.

“We need to stop building in problematic zones for fires and floods, build infrastructure suited to the environment and change social practices as the climate changes,” Prof Howden advised.

“We have to be worried, but we also have to be hopeful.”

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Severe bushfires – not enough fire prevention management.
Floods – councils allowing developers (to an extent) to build on flood plains
Caravan parks next to rivers – well guess what happens there
We’ll get a hot day this summer and Adam Bandt will be running around like Chicken Little -“Climate Change, Climate Change, but that’s OK as there is no Climate Change in the QANTAS Chairman’s lounge

Capital Retro4:31 pm 29 Nov 22

Volcano made climate change is real.

This is a thoroughly researched article, based on the scientific work of thousands of scientists, that gives us means to prepare. I wish the world was not changing like this, but I am prepared to face it squarely for the sake of our children.

No one denies that the climate changes. It always has and always will. Ice ages are the evidence. What I deny is that I’m responsible for them. But if I removed mangroves to build a coastal development causing tidal innundation and erosion I would then blame climate change and rising sea levels.

Sea level rises don’t seem to bother rich climate change carpetbaggers from buying ocean front homes

Capital Retro9:14 pm 26 Nov 22

If sea levels have risen there is no longer any “risk” and I am not aware of anywhere in Australia that sea levels have visibly risen.

Most of the deliberations from the climate alarmists are outcomes of selective computer modeling.

Let’s get on with our lives, they are already short enough.

“Sea levels are also rising, which has increased the risk of inundation and damage to coastal infrastructure and communities.”

What a load of BS!! Oyster farmers on the NSW South Coast have been keeping records for a hundred years too. Their records show that the sea levels have not risen at all.

SigmaOctantis7:12 am 27 Nov 22

Oh that’s ok then. Oyster farmers say everything’s fine, nothing to see here.

What’s your point SigmaOctanis?

I’m going to believe the people who have a vested interest IF the sea levels rise, not so-called experts who receive government funding (tax payers money) to give an opinion that suits their agenda.

So you’re not going to believe actual scientists with detailed evidence, but you will believe unsourced evidence from Oyster farmers? Too funny.

But also seems you’re shooting yourself in the foot, remember you say you believe that climate change is real, just that it isn’t caused by humans?

What other excuses do you want to make up to not have to face reality?

I would prefer to leave this to the professionals and scientists rather than a few oyster farmers from the south coast. There is any amount of scientific research from government and industry bodies that is freely available on the internet for all to assess. Those affected by climate change include communities who have suffered loss of life and devastation from increased and extreme weather events. They include those who live in Australia, its coastal regions and the Pacific islands. And not to mention animals losing their habitats and becoming extinct.

calyptorhynchus4:47 pm 27 Nov 22

And these records are published, where?

Capital Retro10:21 pm 27 Nov 22

And who pays these scientists, chewy? There are supposed to be tens of thousands of climate scientists but try and find even one in the Yellow Pages is impossible.

Oyster farmers work hard and take risks which is real.

Capital Retro,
The are usually paid by universities, government grants and research bodies.

Seeing as they typically don’t represent commercial businesses or interests, you won’t find them in the yellow pages.

But where you will find them is authoring thousands of scientific research papers, almost all showing that climate change is real and caused by human actions.

Oyster farmers on the other hand run businesses that don’t require a whole lot of knowledge around global climate science.

Hi Chewy. Here’s my contribution to Nick Anderson’s post:

“No such thing as man made climate change. The earth’s climate has changed/keeps changing/keeps evolving and has done so for approximately 4.5 billion years.”

Mate I’ll listen to Oyster farmers who have a vested interest if the sea levels rise (it will affect their livelihoods negatively if it does rise) over professors who are making a buck from taxpayers.

OK, I’ll bite.

By extreme weather events do you mean bushfires? If you do then blame the leftists that stopped back burning of the bush in the ‘80’s – they’re the ones responsible for the severity of the recent bushfires (last 25 or so years).

And when you say you’d prefer to leave this to the professionals and scientists – are you including Tim “the dams will never be full again” Flannery?

Gary Stuart,
Yes you’ve said that climate change is real, but here you are saying that sea levels won’t rise.

Which one is it?

At least you should stick to one excuse to absolve yourself from having to do anything.

And as for your claims about scientists and oyster farmers:
a. You haven’t provided any evidence that Oyster farmers don’t believe sea levels are rising and
b. What does scientists getting paid for their work have anything to do with the topic?

Are you suggesting tens of thousands of scientists are falsifying evidence over decades, simply to get a pittance of government funding?

That makes absolutely zero sense, if you were correct, other scientists getting paid by other groups could refute their research.

Strange that hasn’t happened, isn’t it?

Mr Chewy said “Gary Stuart,
Yes you’ve said that climate change is real, but here you are saying that sea levels won’t rise.

Which one is it?”

Chewy, I’ve said in numerous posts that MAN MADE climate change is not real and that the climate is always, and has always changed (has done for over 4 billion years). And I didn’t say the sea-levels won’t rise, I said they AREN’T rising.

My oyster farmer evidence comes from speaking with them (at length btw) about sea-levels. I don’t care that people on here don’t believe the oyster farmers but I wonder why their records aren’t as valued as the so-called experts?

And my issues aren’t with with scientists being paid. My issues are that they are paid by government grants (tax payers money – whether you think it’s a pittance or not) and they have an agenda. Do you think that professors with an opposing agenda with evidence get government grants?

Do I think that “tens of thousands of scientists” are falsifying evidence? I don’t know – I honestly think they’re just making sh*t up (Tim Flannery for one) knowing that they’re going to keep being paid because weak governments keep lining their pockets.

So you think that talking to a few oyster farmers is the equivalent of decades of peer reviewed research from thousands of scientists?

I’m beginning to understand why you are struggling with this topic now.

And you do know that Tim Flannery is not a climate scientist right?

Sems strange that you think these scientists can just make sh*t up, despite their research being peer reviewed and perfectly open to challenge by other scientists.

And if they get paid no matter what, it must be very weird that the data keeps pointing in the same direction and can’t be refuted isn’t it?

Finally, also LOL at thinking scientists are “lining their own pockets”, when in reality they are mostly grossly undervalued for the work they do. There are far bigger self interested players that make trillions out of pretending that climate change doesn’t exist.

Chewy – you and I are going around in circles mate.

Because I have a differing opinion to you doesn’t mean I’m struggling with the topic. Your “peer reviewed scientists” are all bankrolled by government funding. Opposing scientists are not resourced in this way.

As for Flannery not being a climate scientist, here are some of what he said just before he received he Australian of the Year award:

“We are the worst, as a developed country. There is nowhere else that is getting the hammering that we are getting at the moment. That is not due to poor infrastructure planning or anything else. It’s actually due to a natural cycle of water availability which is driven by greenhouse gas pollution.”

“We need to decarbonise the economy extremely rapidly. There are a lot of ways to make electricity. Burning coal is just one of the more antique and stupid ways of doing it. We’ve got solar, we’ve got wind, we’ve got geothermal.”

If he’s not a climate scientist then he’s doing a great job parading around like one.

I’m OK with you having a different opinion but if you want it to hold any credibility you have to support it with evidence.

Your claim that opposing scientists can’t get funding is just laughable. There are multinational companies worth trillions of dollars combined who have vested interests in climate change not being real.

There are many countries whose whole economies would benefit from climate change not being real including our own.

Yet you believe with all these resources available, its more likely that there’s a global conspiracy holding down opposing views rather than the peer reviewed science showing man mad climate change is real?

And how exactly does the quote from Flannery show he’s a climate scientist or even that he believes he’s one?

You don’t need to be a scientist to understand a topic and convey the facts to others.

Mate my evidence is with actual oyster farmers – only 180 minutes away if you’d like to speak with them. They have records that go back a hundred years.

Do you think there would be be silence from any of them if their livelihoods were at stake due to rising sea-levels?

My cynicism towards man made climate change comes from the lies and false evidence coming from “experts” (and I’m including Tim Flannery).

For example, remember that time BoM was caught erasing historical low temperature records? These records have not been amended back. They have been erased forever. Their records now falsely show that temperatures are rising. They have a budget of over $300M funded by taxpayers and are one of the major players providing climate advice to the government.

So, now you know why I don’t believe in the man made climate change myth.

Reliable data doesn’t really seem to be your thing, but can you please provide some evidence to back up your statement that “peer reviewed scientists” are all bankrolled by government funding. Opposing scientists are not resourced in this way. Something a bit more specific than “Andrew Bolt said it once” would be appreciated. I’m assuming your a Sky news after dark addict on the drip given your distane hatred for Tim Flannery – it is always the first giveaway!

FYI research gets peer reviewed, not scientists


People with a vested interest IF the sea levels rise would be the least trust worthy as they would be entitled to insurance payouts and may have the ability to seek a payout for loss & damages in court.

People receiving a salary would be much more reliable as their future income will depend on them having a track record of success, and it is that track record of success that makes them the expert and gets them the government funding. You can take the foil hat off now.

In the oyster farmers brains mate. You don’t need to publish things you can remember.

Indeed he is, those words are as true today as they were when he said them. Extreme weather events like floods and droughts are made more intense in a warmer climate due to disruption of the earths systems; the coal sector is universally accepted as in its last decades and nobody is going to be building more coal fired power stations because they are unfinanceable and uninsurable (very difficult problems to work around!); lastly – solar and wind have been deployed in mass across Australia. Regardless, you don’t have to be a scientists to talk about science.

Capital Retro4:07 pm 29 Nov 22

“And you do know that Tim Flannery is not a climate scientist right?”

Yet all the gullible warmists fell for the rubbish he predicted.

Why is it necessary to have tens of thousands of taxpayer funded climate scientists anyway?

I mean, if they all agree with each other through their peer review buddy system so we really only need one climate scientist.

Capital Retro,
“Why is it necessary to have tens of thousands of taxpayer funded climate scientists anyway?”

Almost like its an extremely complex topic with significant breadth of research required.

You know that unlike yourself, actual scientists need more evidence than “it was cold today, climate change isn’t real” to support their positions.

“I mean, if they all agree with each other through their peer review buddy system so we really only need one climate scientist.”

Perfectly outlined your lack of knowledge of scientific research and hpw the peer review process works there haven’t you.

“People with a vested interest IF the sea levels rise would be the least trust worthy as they would be entitled to insurance payouts and may have the ability to seek a payout for loss & damages in court.”

Hahahaha – You have no idea, do you?

“You can take the foil hat off now.”

And you can supaglue yourself to the nearest artwork you pelican.

“Regardless, you don’t have to be a scientists to talk about science.”

And you don’t need a long neck to be a goose!

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