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Fires in Australia’s Northern Territory

13.8S 129.9E

May 8th, 2013 Category: Fires

Australia – May 8th, 2013

Red markers indicate the locations of wildfires near the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf (lower left quadrant) and south of the Van Diemen Gulf (upper right quadrant), in Australia’s Northern Territory. Near the image center, the cluster of markers, indicating many fires in close proximity, is so large that it almost blots out the view of the smoke plumes emanating from the blazes.

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).

Climate Change and Rainfall in Australia

26.5S 143.0E

May 7th, 2013 Category: Climate Change

Australia – May 7th, 2013

Climate change has become a major issue in Australia due to drastic climate events since the turn of the 21st century that have focused government and public attention. Rainfall in Australia has increased slightly over the past century, although there is little or no trend in rainfall in the Western Plateau and the Central Lowlands of Australia. In areas such as Australia’s Channel Country, visible here, scientists have recordings of rainfall dating back to the mid-1800s.

Water sources in the southeastern areas of Australia have depleted due to increasing population in urban areas (rising demand) coupled with climate change factors such as persistent prolonged drought (diminishing supply). At the same time, Australia continues to have the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions.

Great Barrier Reef Parallel to Australia Coast – May 4th, 2013

23.6S 152.1E

May 4th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Image of the day

Australia – May 4th, 2013

The Great Barrier Reef stretches 2,300 kilometres along the Queensland coast and includes over 2,900 reefs, and around 940 islands and cays.
Although the reef was thought to be well-protected, scientists have discovered that poor fishing practices, pollution and coral bleaching exacerbated by increased sea temperatures due to global warming are all seriously threatening the reef’s future.

Fires Near Coast of Western Australia

15.9S 124.8E

May 3rd, 2013 Category: Fires, Sediments

Australia – May 1st, 2013

While sediments frame the coastline of northern Western Australia, creating dazzling blue and green hues in the waters offshore, further inland the landscape is partially obscured by thick plumes of smoke from dozens of fires. While winds are blowing the plumes due west in the upper half of the image, the smoke from a cluster of fires near King Sound has a circular shape, indicating that it is rising upward and/or being blown in all directions by shifting winds.

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