If you feel uncertain whether climate change is happening in Australia (as distinct from just climatic variability) then the ABC’s Catalyst program has just released a report that you should see. The climatic data is set out in detail, using 100 years of Australian weather records in most cases but relying on high quality data sets identified by the Bureau of Meteorology.
The title of the report is Taking Australia’s Temperature, but in fact it looks at a range of parameters, not just temperature:
- (temperature: maxima and minima, changes to annual temperature cycles;
- precipitation – rainfall and snowfall: regional increases and decreases;
- sea level: changes since the 19th Century (1841 in Tasmania, 1897 in southwestern Western Australia); and
- sea temperatures: changes and specific warming events.
For an evidence-rich, bias free (in my opinion at least), easy to understand, Australia-relevant presentation of the data you can’t go past this report.
This is a blog about living sustainably in the Lockyer Valley Region, so why am I posting on climate change in Australia? Because being able to live sustainably does not depend on only local factors. Everything we do happens in, and is influenced by, a wider context. If we are not aware of and up-to-date with that wider context there is a good chance that it is going to frustrate our efforts to live sustainably. That’s one reason. A better reason is that climate change is very difficult to discern at local scales. Relying only on what we observe in the Lockyer to make up our minds on climate change is not reliable. Put simply, you can’t arrive at a valid conclusion if you rely only on local observations – or on data over very short time scales.