Within three decades Australian winters will have become only memories as a result of climate change.
For most of the year across most of the land the weather in Australia is scorching hot. So understandably people Down Under enjoy their short winters of balmier temperatures. There’s bad news, though. According to a team of researchers, within three decades those winters will have become only memories from the past. The reason: climate change.
Teams of scientists and designers from the Australian National University’s Climate Change Institute and School of Art and Design have joined forces for a project that relies on existing data to showcase the expected impacts of climate change visually so that laypeople can better understand the implications. Their aim is to show Australians what the climate is going to be like in their towns and cities in the year 2050.
“We looked at the historical average temperatures of each season and compared them to the projected data and what we find everywhere is that there’s really no period of a sustained or lasting winter,” explains Dr. Geoff Hinchliffe, a senior lecturer at the School of Art and Design. The results are hardly reassuring, in other words. “In 30 years’ time winter as we know it will be non-existent,” he notes. “It ceases to be everywhere apart from a few places in Tasmania.”
Australians will have no winter but they’ll have a new long season. The researchers call it “new summer” and say temperatures will soar consistently to 40 degrees Celsius and above for longer periods. Their findings are in line with other studies from elsewhere that indicate that the climate of myriad cities will look drastically different a few decades from now.
The Australian researchers say they have decided to present climate predictions in a manner that enables laypeople to better understand the predictions of climate science. That way people can better relate to scientific findings rather than continue to view them as abstract ideas or arcane bits of data that may have no relevance to their lives.
“As well as the data, we also focused on developing the most effective visual forms for conveying how climate change is going to affect specific locations,” Hinchliffe explains. “That meant using colour, shape and size around a dial composition showing a whole year’s worth of temperature values in a single snapshot,” he elucidates. “It makes it visually rich and interesting and gives a lot of detail in a way that connects emotionally with people by locating it in their own town.”