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Climate Change in Australia’s Gulf Region

18.4S 140.0E

May 7th, 2013 Category: Climate Change

Australia – May 7th, 2013

The Gulf region of Australia, along the Gulf of Carpentaria, is in the wet-dry tropics (savannah) and is generally hot to very hot throughout the year, with a distinct hot and humid ‘wet season’ (November–March) where rainfall is generated by heavy thunderstorms, monsoonal lows or tropical cyclones.

The region is being affected by climate change. Average annual temperature in the Gulf region has increased 0.2 °C over the last decade (from 26.6 °C to 26.8 °C). Projections indicate an increase of up to 4.4 °C by 2070, leading to annual temperatures well beyond those experienced over the last 50 years. The sea-level rise on parts of the coastline around the Gulf of Carpentaria is projected to be up to 25 mm above the global average sea-level rise by 2070.

Average annual rainfall in the last decade increased by more than 3 per cent compared to the previous 30 years. This is generally consistent with natural variability experienced over the last 110 years, which makes it difficult to detect any influence of climate change at this stage. Models have projected a range of rainfall changes from an annual increase of 24 per cent to a decrease of 26 per cent by 2070. The ‘best estimate’ of projected rainfall change shows a decrease under all emissions scenarios. Projections indicate annual potential evaporation could increase 7–14 per cent by 2070 (click here for more information).

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