Extreme events

 Extreme climate events include heat waves, cold snaps, tropical cyclones, storm surges, floods, droughts and bushfires. They can have a serious impact on the environment and society, including loss of life, property and livelihoods.

While many extreme events are the result of natural climate variability, there is increasing evidence that the number and intensity of extreme events may be changing partly as a result of human influence on climate.

ACCSP research examined these events in order to improve our understanding how they are likely to change under a changing climate.

ACCSP science highlights

  • Developing ways of characterising Australian climate extremes, particularly rainfall, and measures of rainfall variability that can be used by decision-makers.
  • Determining that there are likely to be slightly fewer tropical cyclones in a warmer world, but a greater proportion of severe cyclones. Tropical cyclones may also shift further south in future.
  • Improving the quality of the Australian tropical cyclone database to help scientists clarify future trends in tropical cyclone frequency and intensity in Australia and throughout the world.
  • Determining that it is likely that there will be fewer east coast lows in a warmer world, however very intense east coast lows will still occur.

For more science highlights see the ACCSP Annual Reports.