‘Critical decade’ for climate risks in Australia, world sea levels

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‘Critical decade’ for climate risks in Australia, world sea levels

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2013-07-09


A rise in sea levels and greater frequency of heavy rain will have an impact on property and infrastructure in Australia and around the world, according to a recent report from the country’s Climate Commission Secretariat.

Critical decade for Australia climate risks

“Climate change is likely to affect much of Australia’s infrastructure, including commercial and residential buildings, utilities (such as energy and water services) and transportation systems, in a variety of ways,” according to the report, dubbed “The Critical Decade 2013: Climate change science, risks and responses.”

The report noted that the global average sea level is rising by 3cm every 10 years and will contribute to an increase in coastal flooding around the world.

“Rainfall patterns are shifting,” according to the report, written by professors Will Steffen and Professor Lesley Hughes. “The southwest corner of Western Australia and much of eastern Australia has become drier since 1970. The southwest and southeast corners of Australia are likely to remain drier than the long-term average or become even drier.”

Steffen is a researcher at the Australian National University, Canberra and Hughes is an ecologist in the Department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University.

Climate change impact on New South Wales

They noted that in some regions of the world, there is “high confidence that the intensity and frequency of heavy precipitation are likely to increase.” Those regions include northern Europe, Alaska, northwest and east Canada, Greenland, Iceland, east Africa and northern Asia and central Europe in winter.

Quoting from earlier Climate Commission Secretariat reports, the authors noted that in Australia, the combined value of commercial, light industrial, transport and residential buildings at risk from a sea-level rise of 1.1 metres is about 226 billion Australian dollars.

“Much of Australia’s commercial buildings, industrial facilities, airports, ports, hospitals, schools, roads and railways and many residential buildings are in close proximity to the coast, putting much property and infrastructure at risk from sea-level rise.”

The report added there an increased risk of” extreme fire weather” in some parts of Australia, “especially the populous southeast.”

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