Rainfall levels are decreasing in the populous south of Australia and spring temperatures are rising strongly, according to data released by Australian meteorologists.
Reacting to recent scepticism about climate change, Australia's Bureau of Meteorology and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have published a summary of how the country's climate has changed in the past century of data collection.
Bureau of Meteorology Director Dr Greg Ayers said the observed changes showed clear evidence of climate change.
'Australia holds one of the best national climate records in the world,' Dr Ayers said. 'The Bureau’s been responsible for keeping that record for more than a hundred years and it’s there for anyone and everyone to see, use and analyse.'
Since 1960 the mean temperature in Australia has increased by about 0.7°C.
Some areas have experienced a warming of 1.5 to 2°C over the last 50 years. Warming has occurred in all seasons, however the strongest warming has occurred in spring (about 0.9°C) and the weakest in summer (about 0.4°C).
While total rainfall in Australia had been relatively stable, the geographic distribution changed significantly over the past 50 years, with rainfall decreasing in southwest and southeast Australia, the major population areas but increasing in northern and central parts of Australia.
The Bureau of Meteorology expects average temperatures to continue to rise in the country by between 0.6°C and 1.5°C by 2030, with the most dramatic rises in central and north-western Australia.
Rainfall is also predicted to fall in southern areas of Australia during winter, in southern and eastern areas during spring, and in south-west Western Australia during autumn.
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