The state government has warned Queenslanders will be hit with 50 degree temperatures and endure a 30-day heatwave unless urgent climate action is taken.
Climate projections for 2070 by Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science paint a troubling picture for residents of the Sunshine State.
Temperatures could regularly exceed 35C in Brisbane, 37C in Mt Isa and 35C in Birdsville if greenhouse gas emissions continue.
New modeling predicts some cities will experience months-long drought periods while flood threats increase by 10 percent in the state’s southeast.
New climate modeling warns the frequency and intensity of heatwaves will increase across Queensland with heatwaves lasting up to 30 extra days in Cairns
Queenslanders will swelter below 50 degrees and endure longer heatwaves if urgent climate action is not taken, the state government has warned.
Heat wave duration will increase to 50 days in Rockhampton in the center of the state and up to a month in Cairns on the tropical northeast coast.
Extreme drought conditions will see Mt Isa in the north-west of the state see more than three months of days of 35 degrees and hotter.
The number of 35C days is forecast to increase to 70 days in Cairns and Birdsville, 60 days in Rockhampton and 30 days in Brisbane and Stanthorpe.
Cairns’ tropical humidity will also be affected, with the city receiving less than 590mm of rain on its wettest day, dire news for the tropical rainforest.
In 2070 the duration of heat waves is predicted to increase by 11 days in Brisbane, 30 days in Cairns and 10 days in Rockhampton and Mt Isa.
The amount of time spent in extreme drought can increase to nine months in Brisbane and a staggering two years in Stanthorpe in the state’s south-east.
The same figures remain alarmingly high in Cairns and Rockhampton, where extreme droughts can last up to 20 months and 15 months respectively.
Alarming climate projections are built on the assumption that current fossil-fuel greenhouse gas emissions will continue to increase over the next 50 years under RCP8.5.
Cairns’ tropical humidity will also be affected, with 590mm of rain falling on the wettest day in the city, which is dire news for its tropical rainforest (Image: Extreme Wet Rainfall Forecast for 2070)
The number of hot days above 35C is forecast to increase to 70 days in Cairns and Birdsville, 60 days in Rockhampton and 30 days in Brisbane and Stanthorpe (pictured, fires burning during the 2019 bushfires in Illinbah, Queensland)
‘Current GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions are closely tracking RCP8.5,’ a department spokesman told the Courier Mail.
‘If emissions continue to increase in line with RCP8.5, Queensland can expect temperatures to exceed 50 degrees in some places and with increasing frequency in the future.’
John Clarke, leader of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) regional projections team, said the official projections were in line with modeling done by the science community.
Mr Clarke said the Sunshine State’s climate projections could not be sugar-coated.
‘We need to think very carefully about how we design our cities going forward (and) how we design our workplaces and change our expectations about what people will be able to do,’ he said.
Mr Clarke said it was vital cities had enough space to protect people from the sun during future longer and more intense heatwaves.
Queensland is currently working towards a net zero emissions target by 2050 and a target of 80 per cent renewable energy by 2035.
New modeling predicts some cities will experience longer drought periods while the threat of flooding in southeast Queensland increases by 10 percent (pictured, Brisbane floods in 2022).
Queensland is currently working towards net zero emissions targets by 2050 and a target of 80 per cent renewable energy by 2035 (pictured, Queenslanders chill in Surfers Paradise)
The department spokeswoman said it was crucial Queensland played a role in reducing its contribution to climate change.
‘Strong action now can avoid the high range of climate change described in RCP8.5,’ the spokesman said.
‘However, global temperatures are likely to rise further due to continued high rates of global GHG emissions.
‘This includes the possibility of exceeding the 1.5 degree target for average global warming in the early 2030s.’
Temperatures will top 20 degrees in Brisbane this week, with a weekend high of 26C on Saturday and 24C on Sunday.