Left Menu
Development News Edition

Australia's massive fires could become routine, climate scientists warn


Australia's massive fires could become routine, climate scientists warn

Bushfires ravaging Australia have provided a foretaste of the kinds of conditions that could become normal unless the world moves rapidly to curb emissions of the greenhouse gases driving global warming, scientists have warned.

Although Australia's government and parts of its media have attempted to downplay the role of man-made climate change in making the country more vulnerable to wildfires, a review of 57 scientific papers published since 2013 suggested clear links. "We're not going to reverse climate change on any conceivable timescale. So the conditions that are happening now, they won't go away," Richard Betts, Head of Climate Impacts Research at Britain's Met Office Hadley Centre, who co-authored the review, told a news conference in London on Monday.

The review found that climate change had led to an increase in the frequency and severity of what scientists call "fire weather" - periods with a high fire risk due to some combination of hotter temperatures, low humidity, low rainfall and strong winds. The effects had not only been observed in Australia, but from the western United States and Canada, to southern Europe, Scandinavia, the Amazon and Siberia, the review found.

Globally, fire weather seasons have lengthened across about 25% of the Earth's vegetated surface, resulting in about a 20% increase in the mean length of the fire weather season, according to observational data. Betts said Australia was particularly vulnerable to fires since its land area had warmed by more than the rise in average global temperature of about 1 degree Celsius since pre-industrial times.

The World Meteorological Organization says the global temperature increase could hit 3-5 C this century - more than three times limits agreed in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement - if nothing is done to stop rising emissions. "Temperature conditions in Australia are extreme at the moment but they are what we expect to happen on average in a world of three degrees of global warming," Betts said. "It brings it home to you what climate change means."

The review was carried out using ScienceBrief.org, a new online research platform set up by Britain's University of East Anglia and Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. At least 28 people have been killed in the Australian fires that have destroyed 2,000 homes and razed 11.2 million hectares (27.7 million acres), nearly half the area of the United Kingdom.

After weeks of criticism over his handling of the crisis, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday he would propose a high-powered inquiry into the disaster, including the impact of climate change.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Download The Devdiscourse News App for Latest News.


TRENDING

OPINION/BLOG/INTERVIEW

WEF2020: Trump seems politically correct in pulling out from Paris Agreement

If the survey of the World Economic Forum WEF is believed, Trump seems to enjoy the confidence of his people in flaying climate intuitions and climate activists. His preference for economic development over environmental protection not only...

From home to healthcare, here are Robotic innovations transforming lives

Lovot is equipped with more than 50 sensors such as thermography, microphone array, obstacle detection, and touch sensor to generate motion and emotions in real-time....

Translating words to deeds: Achieving gender parity in access to financial resources

... ...

SDG13: How you can reduce global warming by changing your food habits

The mega narratives of various international organizations give the impression that fighting global warming is only a job of government agencies. However, the European Investment Bank EIB has designed a questionnaire which besides making th...

Videos

Latest News

UPDATE 7-Weinstein lawyer to jury: texts will show alleged attacks were consensual sex

Harvey Weinsteins lawyer told a Manhattan jury on Wednesday his client was not a seasoned sexual predator, as prosecutors claimed, and said the defense had emails and texts that would show the former Hollywood producer and his accusers enga...

UPDATE 1-Canadian prosecutors seek to fine Volkswagen C$196.5 mln for diesel emissions

Prosecutors in Canada on Wednesday proposed a 196.5 million CAD 149.5 million fine against Volkswagen AG after the company pleaded guilty to dozens of counts of diesel emissions violations, a company spokesman confirmed on Wednesday. Volksw...

UPDATE 1-Soccer-Griezmann double ends Ibiza party in Copa del Rey

Barcelonas Antoine Griezmann struck a late double to help them come from behind to beat Spanish third-tier side UD Ibiza 2-1 and avoid an embarrassing Copa del Rey last-32 exit on Wednesday.Javi Perez put Ibiza ahead after nine minutes and ...

Hairy situation: Scientists explain how stress-related graying occurs

Marie Antoinettes hair turned white overnight, according to folklore, before she was executed by guillotine in 1793 during the French Revolution. The ill-fated queen embodied an extreme example of the phenomenon of stress-induced graying of...

Give Feedback