Researchers predict Australia will warm up faster than any other country in the world.
In a report released January 27 from Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization and the Bureau of Meteorology, the agencies calculate that the country will warm up to 9.18 degrees Fahrenheit (5.1 degrees Celsius) by 2090 if greenhouse gas emissions remain high.
“Australia will warm faster than the rest of the world,” Kevin Hennessy, a principal research scientists at CSIRO told the Guardian. The Environmental Protection Agency says the average global temperatures are expected to increase by 2 to 11.5 F (1.1 to 6.4 C) by 2100, placing Australia at the warmer end of the spectrum, and way above the United Nation’s goal to keep temperatures from rising more than 3.6 F (2 C).
The groups used about 40 global climate models to come to their conclusions. They anticipate warmer overall temperatures with fewer cold spells in the coming years, accompanied by rising sea levels, heavy rainfall, and extreme fire weather in some regions. Australia’s temperatures have risen by 1.6 F (0.9 C) since 1910, and it’s already impacting the regional climate by changing rainfall patterns and making the south more susceptible to fires.
The higher warming rate is attributed in part to Australia’s location near the South Pole. Polar areas experience faster warming compared to areas near the equator, mainly because of a loss of sea ice.
To keep Australia’s rate of warming at the lower end of the agencies’ estimates–about 5 F–it would require countries around the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, not just Australia. The agencies hope this report will draw support at the next United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting, slated for later this year.