Climate change fuelling more intense and damaging storms: new report

13.11.16 By
This article is more than 7 years old

Climate change is fuelling more intense and damaging storms in Australia with powerful consequences for Australia’s critical infrastructure, a new Climate Council report has found.

The report, released weeks after a violent storm knocked out South Australia’s electricity network, finds Australia is highly vulnerable to increasingly intense storms, including storm surges associated with tropical cyclones and east coast lows.

The annual frequency of potential severe thunderstorm days is likely to rise by 30% for Sydney, 22% for Melbourne and 14% for Brisbane by the end of the century.

The report finds:

The Climate Council’s Professor Will Steffen, a world-renowned climate scientist, said all extreme weather events were happening in an atmosphere that was packing more energy and carrying more moisture than it did in the 1950s.

“Climate change is already exacerbating storms and storm damage. Our infrastructure is built for last century, not for a changing climate and a number of our major cities and towns are vulnerable. ” Professor Steffen said.

“We need to ensure communities are prepared for increasing risks, as well as tackling climate change by transitioning away from coal, oil and gas, the drivers of climate change”

“Australia must do its fair share of meeting the global emissions reduction challenge by cutting its emissions rapidly and deeply to help stabilise the world’s climate and reduce the risk of more extreme storm events.”

Climate Councillor Andrew Stock, a 40-year energy veteran, said an increase in storms had severe consequences for Australia’s critical infrastructure, particularly electricity infrastructure.

“The South Australian storm knocked over two dozen transmission towers, which is virtually unprecedented,” he said.

“The resilience of all our major infrastructure and essential services needs to be designed for the increasing intensity and severity of extreme weather which we are experiencing as a result of climate change.

“More renewable energy from a diverse range of sources, increased interconnection and fast response energy storage will ensure a grid that is not only more resilient to extreme weather but also meets our climate change commitments.”

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