Have climate impacts ever been as obvious as they have been over the last few weeks?
This November, Victoria has seen record-late frosts, ocean temperature anomalies, as well as a record-breaking heatwave that delivered 15 days over 30°C.
The state now faces an unprecedented storm that is expected to dump a summers-worth of rain in a matter of days leaving the Bureau of Meteorology saying we're in "uncharted territory."
"Half the inhabitants of Melbourne have probably never seen something like this," Scott Williams, senior forecaster at the Bureau of Meteorology told The Age. "This is a vast intense, high impact event for this state."
This is what climate change looks like.
No one can say any particular weather event is caused by climate change. And, of course, Victoria experiences weather patterns that can be extreme because of natural climate variability. But this extreme weather is consistent with what is forecast under climate change modelling.
According to research carried out for the Victorian government, climate change means:
- an increase in average temperature
- more frequent heatwaves and drought
- harsher fire weather and longer fire seasons
- less rainfall overall but increased flooding events as rainfall patterns become more erratic (with more frequent and intense downpours).
In terms of intense rainfall events, the research says:
'Despite an overall trend of declining rainfall, more of the rain that does fall will be in increasingly extreme downpours.
This is likely to lead to an increase in the incidence of flooding events, particularly in urbanised and small catchments'.
According to a fact sheet produced by The Climate Council:
'The heavy downpours across southeast Australia are yet another reminder of how extreme weather events place lives, property and critical infrastructure at risk. Climate change is intensifying many extreme weather events in an atmosphere that is warmer and wetter because of increasing greenhouse gas emissions from human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas.'
By all accounts it's going to be a very dangerous weekend across Victoria so please get prepared, stay safe, and look after each other--particularly community members who are more exposed to heatwaves, storms, and floods.
Stay safe and look after each other.