Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Climate change: Australia burning

How badly will climate change affect Australia? They're now looking at regular 50 degree heatwaves in their major cities:

Even if the Paris agreement to limit the global temperature rise to below 2C is met, summer heatwaves in major Australian cities are likely to reach highs of 50C by 2040, a study published on Wednesday warns.

Researchers led by the Australian National University in Canberra used observational data and simulated climate models to assess future extreme weather events in New South Wales and Victoria. They examined what these weather extremes might look like even if the Paris agreement target of limiting climate change to a 2C increase is met.

The lead author of the study, the climate scientist Dr Sophie Lewis, said Sydney and Melbourne could expect unprecedented summer temperatures of 50C under two degrees of global warming.

Australia's climate is bad enough, but 50 degrees in Sydney's humidity is getting into the danger zone where human thermal regulation breaks down and people need air conditioned environments to survive. Its not as bad as the Persian Gulf, where average temperatures on this level combined with humidity means they will no longer be habitable - but Australia is going to see a huge increase in heat-related deaths, as well as heat-related economic disruption. I guess they can blame their coal industry for that.