Climate Change Desert

Climate Change Desert

See Desert climate report |

Climate and related environmental changes expected

The Desert subregion is classified by the CSIRO, according to Hobbs et al. classification, as “Dry” (where the moisture index & growth index is high in warm season, low in cool season), and “Arid” according to ABARE (2012). In this region the most likely impacts of climate change will manifest as:

Fire will be important but limited by growth rates and grazing

  • More summer and autumn rain may increase suitability for new species from north and new pasture species
  • Potential for overgrazing high as productivity decreases with reduced annual average rainfall and increasing temperatures
  • Pastoralism may decline with some retirement of drying areas
  • Reduced ground and surface water would have big impact on agriculture and refuge dependent native flora and fauna.



Average annual increase in temperature in the range of +1°C to 2.5°C by 2050

  • Summer +1°C to 2.5°C
  • Autumn +1°C to 2°C
  • Winter +1°C to 2°C
  • Spring +1°C to 2.5°C

Average annual change in rainfall to decrease by -2% to 10% by 2050

  • Summer -2% to +5%
  • Autumn -2% to +10%
  • Winter -5% to +10%
  • Spring -5% to +10%

Average annual relative humidity to generally decrease by -0.1% to  -2% 2050

  • Summer -0.5% to -1%
  • Autumn -0.5% to -1%
  • Winter -1% to -2%
  • Spring -1% to -2%

Annual average wind speed to remain constant through to a 2% increase in the South by 2050

  • Summer -2% to +2% (remaining constant or decreasing across the Northern and middle of the region with a potential increase to the South)
  • Autumn -2% to +2%
  • Winter -10% to +5% (The north of the region remains unchanged with the central belt seeing a 5% increase and the Southern section now seeing up to a 10% decrease)
  • Spring no change to +5%

Annual average potential evapotranspiration will remain unchanged or increase by up to 4% by 2050

  • Summer 0% to +4%
  • Autumn +2 to +4%
  • Winter +2 to +4%
  • Spring 0% to +4%