Australian rangelands and climate change – heatwaves

Australian rangelands and climate change – heatwaves Report

Climate Change in Australia – Impacts & Adaptation Information for Australia’s NMR Regions

  • Author(s): Bastin, G.
  • Published: 2014
  • Publisher: Rangelands NMR Cluster, Ninti One Limited and CSIRO

Abstract: •It is hot and getting hotter –the regional projections report advises that the Rangelands Cluster region has warmed at a rate of 0.05–0.15°C per decade since 1911(Watterson et al. in press). The recent experience of many rangelands communities in coping with increasing summer temperatures provides some foundation for adjusting to what is projected to come. This acknowledged, there will still be a considerable requirement for further adjustment and adaptation (not covered in this short document). •Most towns in the region have had more hot days and heatwaves, and longer heatwaves, in the recent past, particularly during the first decade of this century. This pattern is consistent with projected hotter temperatures as part of climate change. More recent contributing factors also included low humidity, cloudless days and increased reflected and transmitted heat from areas with low ground cover associated with protracted and widespread drought conditions during much of the 2000s. •The trend in heatwave conditions appears to be moderated for northern urban centres (Longreach, Mount Isa and Tennant Creek; not so for Newman).Here, the summer monsoon probably has a moderating effect on extreme maximum daily temperatures (i.e. periods of cloud cover, higher humidity, variable rainfall and increased ground cover). •In this section, we report recent decadal patterns in the number of summer days exceeding a threshold daily maximum temperature (either 36°or 40°C) and the number and length of heatwaves (defined as continuous periods beyond a week when the threshold temperature was exceeded).Temperature data were sourced from the Bureau of Meteorology for 16 towns in (or on the edge of) the Rangelands Cluster.

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Suggested Citation
Bastin, G., 2014, Australian rangelands and climate change – heatwaves, Report, viewed 13 June 2024,

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