Media Release: Climate Council warning: Extreme flooding events will intensify

Climate change will continue to amplify extreme weather events, including intense heavy rainfall and flooding, like that triggered by ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

Climate Council Head of Research, Dr. Martin Rice said climate change continues to drive Australia’s devastating extreme weather events, with a warmer atmosphere holding more moisture in it than before, increasing the risk of heavy downpours and flooding.

“Climate change is already influencing extreme rainfall events increasing the risk of heavy downpours, like we’ve seen this last week.”

The Climate Council has warned that Australia will continue to face worsening extreme weather events unless we tackle climate change by rapidly reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.

The extreme weather follows: the hottest year on record global in 2016; an Angry summer with 205 weather records broken across Australia; and an extreme marine heat wave causing massive bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef.

“Queensland and New South Wales - the two states that bore the brunt of ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie, will continue to be hit by worsening extreme rainfall events,” he said.

Maximum one-day rainfall is expected to increase by up to 17 and 18% for New South Wales and Queensland respectively.

“Without serious action to tackle climate change by reducing Australia’s emissions from the burning of coal, oil and gas, we will continue to see these extreme rainfall events increase in intensity.”

Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Debbie alone should serve as a major warning for government to better prepare communities and emergency services on the frontline.

“Communities and emergency services will continue to face worsening extreme weather events, including intense rainfall and flooding. This means adequate recovery will become an increasingly difficult and costly task. When rebuilding changing future risk of worsening extreme weather must be considered, ” she said.

“It’s absolutely crucial that Australians are aware of the climate risks that lie ahead, so that our emergency services, communities and governments can prepared for a future of worsening extreme weather events.

“The Federal Government must embrace clean, smart and efficient renewable technology, while continuing the retirement of fossil-fuel reliance across the country in order to seriously tackle climate change and limit the impact of future extreme weather events.”

The Climate Council has released a new briefing paper on intense rainfall and climate change. You can view it here.

For more information please contact Media Advisor Alexia Boland on 0430 511 068 and at [email protected].

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