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Life in South Australia at 35C a grim prospect as elderly start to die and bushfires rage, Climate Institute’s worst case scenario shows

Posted by gmarkets on 10 October, 2007

The Climate Institute had prepared a scenario of what life would be like at 35 degrees Celsius, reported The Advertiser (3/10/2007, p. 4).

Increased discomfort: Electricity supplies would be drained by demand for aircon­ditioning and refrigeration. There would be an increased risk of bushfires, increased risk of buckling of railway lines and increased demand for water, as evaporation rose. The 35C measure was used as it was the temperature at which old people start dying, the Climate Institute’s Erwin Jackson said.

CSIRO report commissioned: The institute was a non­partisan, independent group established in 2005 to raise pub­lic awareness and motivate positive action to prevent dangerous climate change. It commissioned a CSIRO re­port on bushfires and delivered a briefing on heatwaves, which already were said to contribute to the deaths of more than 1000 people, aged more than 65, each year in Australia. “The good news is that with lower levels of emissions you get lower levels of climate change,” Jackson said.

Report lists climate effects: The CSIRO’s Kevin Hennessy said it was the first time CSIRO had looked beyond just temperature and rainfall to other climate vari­ables. The Climate Change in Australia report found South Australia also would suffer from:

  • rainfal decline – by 2070, South Australia could expect 10 to 15 per cent less rainfall under a high emission scenario;
  • fewer rainy days – although individual falls actu­ally may be more intense;
  • more droughts – an in­crease in the number of drought months of up to 20 per cent by the year 2030;
  • decrease in humidity and an increase in sunshine, associ­ated with the reduction in rain­fall;
  • warmer nights and fewer frosts;
  • rising sea levels, with impli­cations for coastal inundation, particularly in parts of Adelaide where some subsidence already is occurring for other reasons; and
  • decline in grape quality in the Barossa Valley, due to warmer conditions.

Probability predictions: For South Australia, the chance of a 1C rise in 2030 was about 20-50 per cent in the south of the state and 50-60 per cent in the north, rising to more than 90 per cent by 2070, for both the low and high emissions scenarios. For a 2C warming, however, there was a 1-20 per cent chance in the south and a 30-40 per cent chance in the north for a low emission case. For a high emissions case the chance of a 2C warming was 80-90 per cent in the south and more than 90 per cent elsewhere.

The Advertiser, 3/10/2007, p. 4

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