In Australia, hurricanes are called “cyclones.”
” … cyclones will be stronger, more frequent and last longer, and the
region of cyclone activity will shift southwards, affecting areas 300km
further south by 2070.”
” … possibility the “stressed” forest could shift from being the
‘ultimate carbon sink’ and reverse its role to become a carbon emitter.”
The Courier-Mail (Australia)
July 25, 2008
The future is grim reveals climate change report
By Peter Michael
QUEENSLAND will become hotter and super-cyclones will batter the
coast as far south as Brisbane by 2070, the nation’s top scientists
have warned. In a top-level ministerial briefing note seen by The
Courier-Mail, the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, the
co-ordinating body for the nation’s 15 peak scientific bodies, offers
stark predictions about climate change.
The confidential report to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Environment
Minister Peter Garrett and Climate Change Minister Penny Wong paints
a bleak picture of stronger and more frequent cyclones, coral
bleaching and the extinction and loss of flora and fauna.
Mr Rudd yesterday fired an angry salvo at climate change sceptics
saying: “It’s real. Climate change is at work and it is increasing at
a pace of knots.”
Mr Rudd and Senator Wong visited the Great Barrier Reef off Port
Douglas to see evidence of coral bleaching under global warming,
where the Prime Minister declared: “We have a real problem on our
“If you go back into ancient corals, up to 1000 years old, it is only
in the last 20 to 25 years that you can see coral bleaching.”
Under pressure over his carbon emissions scheme, Mr Rudd warned
climate change sceptics against “digging a hole and burying their
heads in the sand”.
“We need Australia to act locally and globally because, if we fail,
assets like the Great Barrier Reef will be fatally in peril,” he said.
The Australian Government’s Marine and Tropical Sciences Research
Facility report prepared for Mr Rudd’s visit found north Queensland’s
$6 billion economy was “highly vulnerable to climate change”.
The latest climate change projections predict that by 2030: Average
annual temperature will increase by between 0.6C and 1.2C, and that
after 2030, the rate of increase will be highly dependent on emission
Also, cyclones will be stronger, more frequent and last longer, and
the region of cyclone activity will shift southwards, affecting areas
300km further south by 2070. Local sea levels will be 13 to 20cm
above 1990 levels, and 49 to 89cm above 1990 levels by 2070.
The report said global warming could also possibly lead to the
extinction of vulnerable rainforest vertebrates, while low-lying
islands in Torres Strait could become uninhabitable. It also painted
a picture of coral disease and turtles, dugongs and seabirds
struggling to survive.
It comes as new research shows the Daintree, the world’s oldest
rainforest, may disappear because of global warming. It revealed some
parts of the 135-million-year-old forest, two hours’ drive north of
Cairns, already is showing signs of decline under human-triggered
Deep in the heart of the Daintree, ecologist Cassandra Nichols has
spent two years working high above the forest floor studying the
canopy of the lush tropical rainforest. “This is the lungs of the
earth,” Ms Nichols, 29, said. “You can taste the oxygen in the air.
The water that flows out of these mountains is pure, clean and sweet.
But the scariest part is to think the rainforest may change from this
to eucalypt scrub, simply because of man-made global warming.”
Using a crane, scientists from across the world have been studying
sentinel plants for signs of climate change. Lead researcher Dr
Michael Liddell, of James Cook University, said latest studies of a
hectare of Daintree forest showed the whole ecosystem was at risk of
CSIRO research showed much of the lowland rainforest could disappear
and revert to eucalypt, leading to the end of species such as the
cassowary, he said. Added to this was the possibility the “stressed”
forest could shift from being the “ultimate carbon sink” and reverse
its role to become a carbon emitter.
Mr Rudd and Senator Wong met with some of the region’s top scientists
yesterday to discuss the dire warnings.
One new study of a palm, the normanbya normanbyi, observed alarming
differences in fruiting under drought and flooding rains of climate
change. “At the moment we need some basic data on how the forest
performs under normal conditions,” Dr Liddell said.