Australia will endure more heatwaves, droughts and coral bleaching at 1.5 degrees of warming but the extremes will be considerably less than if global temperatures increase by 2 degrees, new research shows.
In some of the first research on the impacts for Australia of the 1.5 degree to 2 degree range agreed at the Paris climate summit in 2015, Melbourne University scientists have found the chances of a repeat of events such as the "angry summer" of 2012-13 are significantly reduced at the lower end of the warming scale.
That summer, which remains the country's hottest, was already about 10 times more likely than without the 1 degree of warming already experienced since pre-industrial times, said Dr Andrew King, a Melbourne University climate scientist and lead author of the paper published in Nature Climate Change.
At warming of 1.5 degrees, the odds of such a summer with its heat extremes and bush fire-conducive weather increases from about 44 per cent now to 57 per cent. The chance rises to 77 per cent in a 2-degree warmer world, the researchers found.
Read Peter Hannam’s story in today’s Melbourne Age - “‘Alarming': Keeping warming to 1.5 degrees to shield Australia from big extremes.”