Warning: Australia Will Just Keep Getting Hotter Until 2050By , , and
Greenhouse gases have locked in warming, weather bureau says
Sydney touched 47.3 degrees Celsius during weekend heatwave
The road-melting heatwave that made Sydney the hottest place on Earth at the weekend may just be a taste of things to come.
Temperatures in Australia are set to rise until around 2050 due to greenhouse gas emissions already in the atmosphere, according to the country’s weather bureau.
“Australia is one country where you really can see the signal of global warming,” Karl Braganza, the Bureau of Meteorology’s head of climate monitoring, told reporters on a call. “We’ve locked the degree of warming in until mid-century and that means it’s likely that one of the next strong El Nino events in the coming decade or two will set a new record.”
Western Sydney touched 47.3 degrees Celsius (117 degrees Fahrenheit) on Sunday and 2017 was Australia’s third-hottest year on record. Heat and drought risk devastating crops in Australia, the world’s third-largest exporter of cotton where farm production is forecast to be worth A$59 billion ($46 billion) this financial year.
Since 2005, Australia has notched up seven of its 10 warmest years, the weather bureau said in its annual climate statement.
More heatwaves could stress a power grid that’s struggled to cope with demand as people crank up air-conditioning during the scorching summer months.