Australia’s regional variation (RV) is the new trend in Australia’s climate, according to a new study.
The research from the Australian National University (ANU) is one of the first to identify and quantify the extent of regional variation in Australian temperatures.
“This research shows that the amount of variability in regional weather and climate is increasing at a significant rate,” Professor Ian Stirling, the lead author of the paper and the director of ANU’s Climate Research Centre, said in a statement.
The new study is published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
The authors found that Australia’s average monthly temperature variation of 0.13 degrees Celsius over the past 50 years has increased from 0.07 degrees in 1990 to 0.19 degrees in 2015.
That means that between 1990 and 2015, the average temperature variation has increased by 0.7 degrees Celsius, or 0.6 degrees per decade.
“We’re seeing more and more variability in the climate and we’re seeing that it’s accelerating,” Professor Stirling said.
“Our results suggest that climate change is driving this.”
Professor Stirling and his colleagues analyzed temperature trends in the Great Basin and the Murray-Darling Basin, the most heavily populated areas of the country.
“It’s been a pretty good story so far, but it’s not a very good story overall,” he said.
The report shows that since 1980, the number of years with temperature anomalies above 0.1 degrees Celsius has risen from 6.2 million to 11.6 million.
While the increase in the number and severity of extreme temperature events has not matched the rate of change in other climate indices, the study shows that Australia has been experiencing significant increases in the frequency of extreme events.
“The changes in temperature have been so great, and the magnitude of the changes has been so large, that it suggests we’re on the threshold of a climate catastrophe,” Professor Brian Walker, one of his co-authors and an assistant professor at the ANU, said.