Associate Professor Alison Specht, of SCU in Lismore, cools off in yesterday’s heat as she warns Northern Rivers residents to be prepared for unexpected climate patterns.
Associate Professor Alison Specht, of SCU in Lismore, cools off in yesterday’s heat as she warns Northern Rivers residents to be prepared for unexpected climate patterns.

Global warming debate heats up

DESPITE this year's hailstorms and flash flooding across the Northern Rivers, Australia is on track for its 15th warmest year on record, with temperatures 0.37C above average, according to the World Meteorological Organisation.

With 2008 also set to be the 10th warmest on record for the globe, Associate Professor Alison Specht, of Southern Cross University, said this was a fair indicator of climate change.

“The Northern Rivers region is unique, with rainfall a common feature.

“However, we need to be conscious of our changing landscape and population and be prepared,” Dr Specht said.

Dr Specht said the maximum temperatures had increased significantly over the past 20 years and the general consensus among scientists was that global warming was occurring.

“However, Australia's climate history is still short for such definite predictions, and different interpretations and debate surrounding global warming is important,” she said.

“We need to wear that uncertainty and wear the heat.”

Projected regional climatic changes by 2050
  • Days are projected to be hotter over all seasons (1 to 3C).
  • The greatest increases are projected for winter (2 to 3C) and the smallest increases in summer (1 to 1.5C).
  • Nights are also projected to be warmer, with mean minimum temperatures projected to increase by 2 to 3C in all seasons.

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