Extreme Heat Risk On Rise - Climate Council
9 December 2013 at 3:52 pm
Climate change is driving up the risk of fire danger weather, the Not for Profit Climate Council’s latest report on extreme weather says.
The Extreme Weather Report found the number of record hot days had doubled in the last 50 years, heatwaves have become longer and more frequent, while some parts of the country are becoming drier.
“Australia has always experienced bushfires but climate change is driving up the risk of fire danger weather,” Chief Councillor Professor Tim Flannery said.
“People lose their lives in Australia due to fires, and property and infrastructure is also damaged. We must understand the risks of a changing climate to protect ourselves into the future.
“Hot dry conditions are the ingredients for bushfires, and climate change is making conditions hotter and drier in the south east and south west of Australia.”
Flannery said extreme fire weather had increased over the last 30 years across the southeast of Australia where some of Australia’s largest population centres were located.
“The fire season is getting longer with fire weather now extending into October and March. This is reducing opportunities for hazard reduction burning meaning that there’s less chance to safely reduce the fuel,” he said.
The report also found that recent bushfires have been influenced by record hot dry conditions.
“Australia has experienced its hottest 12 months on record. NSW has experienced the hottest September on record; days well above average in October and exceptionally dry conditions,” he said.
“These conditions mean that fire risk has been extremely high and we have already seen severe bushfires in NSW before summer has even begun.
“In the future fire frequency and intensity is expected to increase substantially in many regions, especially in those regions currently most affected by bushfires.
“This means it is crucial that our communities, emergency service workers and health services prepare for the increasing severity and frequency of extreme fire conditions.
“It is important that as a community we are prepared for increasing fire risk, our emergency services are resourced to cope and we work together to reduce carbon emissions, thereby reducing the risk of more intense fires into the future.”
To view the Climate Council’s Extreme Weather Report, click here.