Australia’s climate has entered a new era of sustained extreme weather events, such as dangerous bushfires and heatwaves, courtesy of rising average temperatures, a new report by the nation’s two government climate science agencies has found. From a report: Rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, mostly from fossil fuel burning, has driven more dangerous bushfires, rising sea levels and a rapid rise in the days where temperatures reach extreme levels, the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO said in Australia’s latest State of the Climate Report. “What we are seeing now is beyond the realm of what was possible previously,” said Dr Jaci Brown, director of CSIRO’s Climate Science Centre. While 2019 was Australia’s hottest on record that helped deliver unprecedented bushfires, those temperatures would be seen as average once global heating reaches 1.5C, the report said. Among the key findings, the report said Australia’s climate had warmed by 1.44C since 1910 with bushfire seasons getting longer and more dangerous. Australia’s oceans had warmed by 1C and were acidifying. In a briefing to reporters on Tuesday, Dr Karl Braganza, manager of climate environmental prediction service at the bureau, said conditions in Australia were in line with projections over recent decades. But he said: “What we are seeing now is a more tangible shift in the extremes and we are starting to feel how that shift in the average is impacting on extreme events. So we don’t necessarily feel that 1.44C increase in average temperature, but we do feel those heatwaves and we feel that fire weather.”
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