RISING TIDE: Coastal Risk Australia's 2100 predictions under a high inundation scenario would see towns like Byron and Ballina flooded.
RISING TIDE: Coastal Risk Australia's 2100 predictions under a high inundation scenario would see towns like Byron and Ballina flooded. Coastal Risk Australia

Our future climate looks like something out of Mad Max

IN 30 years, our environment will be "quite possibly like something out of Mad Max", a spokeswoman from North Coast Environment Council said.

"Many days will be too hot to venture outside, and without adequate preparation, many animals and plants, both domestic and wild won't make it through the summer.

"The division between rich and poor will grow. Only those with their own stand-alone solar powered air-conditioning will be able to keep the fans going, but that won't keep them safe from the increasingly desperate."

This, NCEC vice president Susie Russell said, was not a fiction but "already happening in parts of the world where ecological collapse is driving social chaos".

And she said Australia was not immune.

The North Coast Environment Council was formed in 1976 and consists of many environment centres and local environment groups in the region as well as individuals who cover areas from the Hunter to the Tweed and west to the New England Highway.

For more than 40 years they have worked on campaigns to limit the use of toxic chemicals, particularly the arbitrary spraying of herbicides, campaigned to stop development clearing of habitat, and also worked to defend coastal habitats, wetlands, forests and rivers.

Ms Russell said the two looming threats for our local environment was the collapse of our biodiversity and the crisis of a rapidly changing climate.

According to a report produced by CSIRO and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, State of the Climate 2016, Australia's warmest year on record, 2013 - which saw temperatures exceed 49C - will be considered cool after 2050.

The report paints a picture of the future of the environment with projections under medium and high emission scenarios.

Their 2018 report paints the same bleak picture with higher seasonal temperatures, harsher fire-weather climate, decreases in rainfall, higher sea level and temperatures, more hot days and longer heatwaves, fewer cold days and more intense extreme rainfall events all likely outcomes with a high to very high confidence of occurring in the short and long term along Australia's east coast.

 

RAINFALL

Climate Change in Australia (CCIA) data said decreases in winter and spring rainfall are projected with medium confidence, but there is a a high confidence of increased intensity of extreme rainfall events and a medium confidence of increased time spent in drought over the century.

 

TEMPERATURE

CCIA predicted average temperatures will continue to increase in all seasons with very high confidence, as they have increased over the past century with the rate of warming higher since 1960. Mean temperature increased between 1910 and 2013 by around 0.8 °C.

CCIA said: "For the near future (2030), the annually averaged warming across all emission scenarios is projected to be around 0.5 to 1.3C above the climate of 1986-2005. By late in the century (2090), for a high emission scenario... the projected range of warming is 2.9 to 4.6C."

 

MARINE & COAST

CCIA said there was a very high confidence that sea level will continue to rise and height of extreme sea-level events will also increase. By 2030 the projected range of sea-level rise is 0.09 to 0.19m above the 1986-2005 level, but by 2090 it's predicted under the intermediate emissions case a rise of 0.30 to 0.65 metres and the high emissions case a rise of 0.45 to 0.88 metres.

An interactive map released by Coastal Risk Australia allows people to visualise how sea level rise driven by climate change will impact their areas.

The map has highlighted that if waters around Australia rise by 0.74 metres by the end of this century, one of the most vulnerable sites around Australia will include Byron Bay.

This will be but one problem of many the East Coast coastal waters will face, with warming sea temperatures posing a a significant threat to the marine environment "through biological changes in marine species, including local abundance, community structure, and enhanced coral bleaching risk".

By 2090 sea surface temperature is projected to increase between 2.8C to 5.7C under a high scenario, and the sea will become more acidic with acidification proportional to emissions growth.



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