19.2 C
Byron Shire
March 6, 2021

Drought risk to soar even at 1.5C

Latest News

Suspicion and belief

Fast Buck$, Coorabell My suspicion is that the mayor and the senior staff have been helping Michael Lyon become electable...

Other News

Monkey see

Daniel Brown, Byron Bay Back in my early youth growing up in Mt Eliza Victoria in the ‘90s I’d secretly...

New Greens team

Matthew O’Reilly President of CABS and a proud member of the NEW Byron Greens team It seems that some readers have...

Suffolk Park pump track for Cavanbah

Kathy Gleeson, Suffolk Park When I first heard of, and supported, the pump track at the Linda Vidler Park in Suffolk...

Bangalow blackspot puts school children at risk

Will action ever be taken to protect school kids getting on and off the bus on Lismore Road, Bangalow as trucks fly by at 80km/h?

Storylines: Uluru Statement from the Heart

The 'Uluru Statement from the Heart' seeks constitutional reform to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to have a say and be involved over matters that impact their lives.

Ballina Dragons invite public to have a go

The Ballina Dragon Boat Racing Club is having a come and try day on Saturday 6 March, on the Richmond River at Ballina.

Weather forecasters are predicting that Australia is facing drought conditions as a result of more  El Nino weather patterns. (File Pic)
Weather forecasters are predicting that Australia is facing drought conditions as a result of more El Nino weather patterns. (File Pic)

Extreme El Nino events that can cause crippling drought in Australia are likely to be far more frequent even if the world pulls off mission improbable and limits global warming to 1.5 degrees.

International scientists have just released new modelling that projects drought-causing El Nino events, which pull rainfall away from Australia, will continue rising well beyond any stabilisation of the climate.

Even if warming is limited to the world’s aspirational target of 1.5 degrees – something scientists have warned is unlikely if not impossible – the modelling suggests Australia will face more frequent drought-inducing weather events.

The risk of extreme El Nino events will rise from the current five events per century, to 10 per century by 2050 under a scenario that presumed warming peaks at 1.5 degrees then.

But the risk keeps on rising for a further 100 years – to about 14 events per century by 2150.
In short, the risk of extreme El Nino events won’t stabilise even if the climate is stabilised, CSIRO researcher and lead author Dr Guojian Wang says.

“This result is unexpected and shows that future generations will experience greater climate risks associated with extreme El Nino events than seen at 1.5C warming,” Dr Wang says.

Report co-author Dr Wenju Cai says extreme El Nino events occur when the usual El Nino Pacific rainfall centre is pushed eastward, toward South America. Sometimes it moves by up to 16,000km, causing massive changes in the climate.

“This pulls rainfall away from Australia bringing conditions that have commonly resulted in intense droughts across the nation,” says Dr Cai, director of the Centre for Southern Hemisphere Oceans Research.

“During such events, other countries like India, Ecuador, and China have experienced extreme events with serious socio-economic consequences.

The global Paris climate change agreement seeks to limit global warming to below 2 degrees, a target intended to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

‘But the Paris deal, recently abandoned by the United States, also set an aspirational target of 1.5 degrees – a demand from the most vulnerable countries, including low-lying island nations in the Pacific that may not survive at 2 degrees.

Dr Scott Power heads climate research at the Bureau of Meteorology and says most small island states in the Pacific have a limited capacity to cope with major floods and droughts, and the latest modelling is very bad news for them.

“To make matters worse, our recent study published … indicates that the risk of major disruptions to Pacific rainfall have already increased.

‘And, unfortunately, these El Nino-related impacts will add to the other challenges of climate change, such as rising sea levels, ocean acidification and increasing temperature extremes.”

The latest research on the El Nino risk has been published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


I Menahemi, Myocum In his editorial Hans Lovejoy says – ‘the optics from The Echo have been and hopefully always will be independent.’ As long as more...

Suffolk Park pump track

Jinesh Attard, Suffolk Park Many in the local community of hillside Suffolk Park have come to understand the impact the pump track will have on our...

New Greens team

Matthew O’Reilly President of CABS and a proud member of the NEW Byron Greens team It seems that some readers have taken my comments on the...

Naming Ben Franklin

Cecily McGee, Mullumbimby It's very misleading for the Byron Shire Echo to repeatedly give Ben Franklin free media coverage,  as in the article about the Mullumbimby...