Australian bushfire season 27 days longer than 40 yrs ago: Report

by IANS |

Canberra, July 1 (IANS) A new report published on Friday revealed that the number of extreme bushfire weather days in Australia per year increased by 27, or 56 per cent, between 1979 and 2019.

According to a report published by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), in comparison, the frequency of days with extreme fire weather globally increased by 54 per cent in the same time period, reports Xinhua news agency.

Pep Canadell, CSIRO researcher and author of the study, said the increase in extreme weather days translated to an increased number of bushfires, as seen during the "2019/20 Black Summer" when fires raged in every state and territory.

"Australia has always experienced extreme bushfires, but the Black Summer of 2019/2020 highlighted an increasing trend in fire activity," Canadell said in a statement.

"These new findings show that the whole of Australia has seen an increase in extreme fire weather events and extreme fire days over the last four decades."

Under future climate scenarios included in the report, a rise in global temperatures by between 1.5 and 4 degrees Celsius by 2100 could extend the fire season by an additional 11 to 36 days.

"Australia's highly variable fire weather conditions contribute to annual variability in fire activity, however, we are seeing over time a clear increase in the fire season and fire weather trend. Long-term climate change is driving the increasing trends," Canadell said.

"Our study demonstrates the importance of understanding how trends in fire weather can help first responders, policy makers, and the community better prepare for, and respond to bushfires. It also highlights the importance of curbing global carbon emissions."

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