The Australian research body the Climate Council has argued in its latest paper that the probability of drought will increase, and it will become more severe, because of climate change.
In its report titled ‘Thirsty Country: Climate change and drought in Australia’ the council argued the rate of suicide in men aged between 30 to 49 could rise by up to 15 per cent, as the severity of drought increased.
The crowdfunded body claimed that since the mid 1990s rainfall in south-east Australia had declined between 15 and 20 per cent.
“South-west Western Australia is, if you like, the canary in the coalmine because they’ve already seen a very significant reduction in rainfall there,” co-author Professor Will Steffen said.
“Already it’s putting stress on the WA wheatbelt. For a while there was some very innovative adaptation strategies that kept yields up but there is a limit to how much we can adapt.”
The report stated that with a warming climate, rain across southern Australia had “shifted” further south increasing the risk of drought in south-east and south-west Australia.
It said water would also become more scarce as “pressure on urban water supplies intensifies”. In Perth and surrounding areas the report forecast annual water demand would outstrip supply.