Climate change report is hot news for Coffs and North Coast
DECREASING rainfall in winter is one of many projected changes specific to the Coffs Coast in a climate change snapshot of the region released by the NSW Government's Office of Environment and Heritage.
The report is based on North Coast Region observations between 1910 and 2011 and shows temperatures have been increasing since about 1970 with higher temperatures experienced in recent decades.
The North Coast Region is projected to continue to warm in the near future (2020-2039) and far future (2060-2079), compared to recent years (1990-2009).
The warming is projected to be on average about 0.7°C in the near future, increasing to about 2°C in the far future.
The number of high temperature days is projected to increase, while a reduction is anticipated in instances of potential frost risk.
The warming trend projected for the region is large compared to the natural variability in temperature and is of a similar order to the rate of warming projected for other regions of NSW.
The North Coast currently experiences considerable rainfall variability across seasons and from year-to-year and this variability is also reflected in the projections.
Climate change projections in the report are from the NSW and ACT Regional Climate Modelling (NARCliM) project where data from over 100 climate variables including temperature, rainfall and wind, was subjected to intense scrutiny.
To view the report go to www.climatechange.environment.nsw.gov.au
Coffs Coast climate change projection snapshot
Mean temperatures are projected to rise by 2.0 ºC by 2070. There are slightly greater increases in summer, autumn and spring. All models show there are no declines in mean temperatures.
By 2070 annual rainfall will increase during summer, autumn and spring. Winter rains are projected to decrease.
Forest Fire Danger Index (FFDI) is used in NSW to quantify fire weather. The FFDI combines observations of temperature, humidity and wind speed. Fire weather is classified as severe when the FFDI is above 50. Severe fire weather is projected to increase during summer and spring by 2070, during the peak prescribed burning season (spring) and peak fire risk season (summer).
Hot days are projected to increase by an average of nine days per year by 2070.
These are projected to decrease by an average of eight nights per year by 2070. Changes in cold nights can have considerable impacts on native ecosystems and agricultural crops reliant on cold winters but there is little change for the coastal region.