On October 8 and 9 a series of speakers briefly outlined the likely impacts of climate change on Victoria’s ecosystems at the symposium Managing Victoria's Biodiversity under Climate Change.
Their presentations addresssed a likely scenario, or a series of scenarios, in 2050. Each talk was followed by 20 minutes of discussion facilitated by a similarly qualified person.
All symposium participants were encouraged to take part in the discussions and recommend useful management actions that can be taken by state government agencies, local councils, community organisations and/or private landholders.
After the symposium, the information that emerges will be compiled by ecologist Dr Ian Lunt and published online, in a series of posts, at www.vicnature2050.org.
Posts will also be made on a range of social media platforms.
A likely climate scenario for Victoria in 2050
Assuming ongoing high levels of global greenhouse gas emissions:
- Temperatures in Victoria would be 1.2° to 2.5°C warmer on average than recent decades. Around the state, temperatures above 40°C in summer would occur two to four times more frequently, and heat waves would be more frequent and longer. There would be fewer frosts in winter. For any location its projected climate would resemble that of sites today hundreds of kilometres further north, or at significantly lower elevation. For example, Melbourne’s climate would be roughly like the current one of Wagga Wagga.
- Along with the first decade of the century, later decades are likely to have rainfall below the long-term average, particularly in winter and spring. There are likely to be more intense downpours in summer, making it more difficult to store and use water. Increasing areas would be at risk from flooding during intense summer storms. Soil moisture for cropping and pasture would be much lower and more inconsistent than now. Some drier summers are also possible.
- Major bushfires would be more common.
- In the mountains, snowpack would be reduced by 50%.
- The sea level could rise 25cm above 1995 levels, with low-lying bayside and coastal communities more frequently inundated.
The symposium was organised by the Victorian National Parks Association, the Royal Society of Victoria and University of Melbourne.
Major sponsors: the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning; Parks Victoria.