Projections for Australia present a conundrum. It looks likely to escape extreme temperatures rises of 10 °C or more seen elsewhere, but rainfall projections paint a more troubling picture.
There was very little consensus between the different models run by the UK Met Office. More alarmingly, a study of the probability of forest fires suggests that the number of “extreme fire danger days” per year - when uncontrollable fires are likely to break out as a result of low humidity, strong winds and high temperature - will treble by 2050. “Even under a low warming scenario, the frequency rises by 10 to 50 per cent,” says David Karoly of the University of Melbourne, who reviewed a range of wildfire projections. “We are unleashing hell on Australia.”
‘Have you heard the one about the international climate scientist buying land in New Zealand? An isolated, cold and elevated hideaway could be become de rigeur in family wills to try to protect future generations against rising sea levels, drought and heatwaves. Actually there’s no punchline here. It’s just a rumour. But it’s also an uncomfortable realisation that some experts studying the data may have already decided what the future looks like.’