Australia’s east coast is currently suffering through its worst drought in at least 50 years.
Severe drought and extreme weather conditions will become the norm in Australia unless global warming is mitigated, a report warned on Wednesday.
The report, released by the Climate Council, found that climate change in the continent, would be devastating for the agriculture sector if its effects were left unchecked.
Australia’s east coast is currently suffering through its worst drought in at least 50 years with 100 per cent of New South Wales declared to be in a state of drought.
According to the report, rainfall in the continent’s southeast has declined 25 per cent in early autumn and 15 per cent in late autumn and early winter over the past 30 years.
“Most of our rainfall comes from the ocean, so we are exposed to big-scale changes, and the tropics are expanding.
“That is the ultimate explanation for why these fronts in the Southern Ocean are now being pushed a bit further south, and that means that we are getting less rainfall across the southern part of Australia.
“We’re getting fewer good autumn breaks than we did before, due to the warming of the Indian Ocean,’’ co-author, Will Steffen, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
The seven co-authors found that “stream flows” in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia’s food bowl, have reduced by 41 per cent since the mid-1990s while water systems in Western Australia have declined by 50 per cent.
The report said that the 1997 to 2009 Millennium Drought was a result of climate change as were several natural disasters such as the 2003 “mega fires” in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), which killed four people.
“The combination of drying, extreme heat and increasingly intense bushfires, has damaged or destroyed several of our most valued ecosystems, including Tasmania’s World Heritage forests and alpine areas,’’ it said.