If global temperatures rise by 2 degrees Celsius, weather conditions experienced in 2019-2020 would be at least four times more common as a result of human-caused climate change, a World Weather Attribution (WWA) study conducted by climate scientists published Wednesday shows.
The study Attribution of the Australian Bush Fire Risk to Anthropogenic Climate Change reports that current international plans for emission reductions would lead to warming that substantially exceeds the level of 2 degrees Celsius.
The report found that human-caused climate change contributed to weather conditions of the unprecedented 2019/20 bushfires in southeastern Australia.
It also deduced that climate change increased the chances of Australia experiencing extreme fire weather by at least 30%. However, it said the real increase could be much higher as the trend in extreme heat is one of the main factors behind this increase given the criteria used underestimates the observed trend in heat.
"We found that climate models struggle to reproduce these extreme events and their trends realistically. However, they always underestimate the increase in chances for extreme fire risks such as Australia saw in the last few months," said one of the authors of the study, Geert Jan van Oldenborgh from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute.
Van Oldenborgh explained that as a result, the effect would likely be larger than a 30% increase, a rate that would have a significant influence on global warming.
Annual dry extremes have become somewhat more common in the observed record in southeastern Australia, with 2019 the driest year since 1900, although the trend is within the range expected from natural weather fluctuations, the study showed.
"Climate change is now part of Australia’s landscape. Extreme heat is clearly influenced by human-caused climate change, which can influence fire conditions," another author of the study, Sophie Lewis from the University of New South Wales, said.
"There is evidence that Australian fire seasons have lengthened and become more intense, and extreme temperatures have played a role in this," she added.
By Firdevs Yuksel