WINTER will disappear completely in Australia within the next 30 years, climate researchers have warned.
The nation’s chilliest season will instead by replaced by a “new summer” – with 40C heatwaves sustained across the country.
Australia is known for being generally very hot, even in winter months.
But experts now warn that a changing climate will heat Australia up so much that it won’t technically have a winter any more.
There’ll still be a spring, summer and autumn, but researchers at the Australian National University now say the fourth season will be “new summer”.
This period will fall roughly between mid-December and late February, although it changes slightly depending on the area of Australia you’re looking at. For instance, in Sydney the “new summer” extends right through October and March.
The “new summer” season will take place during summer proper, while “winter” is absorbed completely by spring and autumn in the July/August period.
Australia’s “new summer” will be a period of the year “where temperatures will consisntely peak…well above 40C for a sustained period”, researchers warn.
The information is based on climate data from the Queensland Government LongPaddock project and models of climate change based on pattern data from the UK’s Met Office.
“We looked at the historical average temperatures of each season and compared them to the projected data,” explained Dr Geoff Hinchliffe.
“And what we find everywhere is that there’s really no period of a sustained or lasting winter.”
Researchers were able to transform this data into an interactive map that reveals how many degrees temperatures will rise in different locations across Australia.
The map also shows how many more days over 30- and 40-degrees a place will have in 2050 compared to today.
And it’s bad news if you’re a sun-fearing Australian, apparently.
“In 30 years’ time, winter as we know it will be non-existent,” Dr Hinchcliffe said.
“It ceases to be everywhere apart from a few places in Tasmania.”
- Try the tool here
For instance, in Sydney, the average daily maximum between 1960 to 1990 was around 22.1C.
But if climate change isn’t halted, then researchers say that this figure will rise to 25.4C by 2050.
The average daily maximum will be 3.3C hotter and winter will technically disappear.
Summers will get warmer too, with extreme summer temperatures in Sydney expected to be 2.7C higher than the 1960-90 summer average.
And there will also be 13% less on average too, it’s claimed.
“We will have up to 62 days over 30C – 47 days more than the 1960-90 average [in Sydney],” researchers warn.
“As well as the data, we also focused on developing the most effective visual forms for conveying how climate change is going to affect specific locations,” said Dr Hinchcliffe.
“That meant using colour, shape and size around a dial composition showing a whole year’s worth of temperature values in a single snapshot.
“It makes it visually rich and interesting and gives a lot of detail in a way that connects emotionally with people by locating it in their own town.”
Global warming – how does it work?
Here's what you need to know…
- The greenhouse effect is a phenomenon that warms the Earth’s surface and air
- It’s caused by gases in the air that trap energy that travels to Earth from the Sun
- The gases that cause this effect are known as “greenhouse gases”
- Common greennhouse gases include methane and carbone dioxide
- This greenhouse effect is important, because it makes sure Earth stays warm enough to support life
- Without the greenhouse effect, heat would escape into space – significantly cooling Earth
- But there is a risk that humans are releasing too many greenhouse gases into the atmosphere
- This can be caused by burning coal, oil and other fossil fuels
- By trapping more heat, the temperature of Earth rises – which is believed to be one of the main causes of global warming
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