Climate Change Pilbara

Climate Change Pilbara

See Pilbara climate report |

Climate and related environmental changes expected

CSIRO (2008) classified the Pilbara subregion according to Hobbs and McIntyre’s (2005, in CSIRO 2008) classification as ‘Dry’ (warm to hot and dry, with the moisture and growth indices low all year), and ‘Arid’ according to ABARE (2012). In this subregion the most likely impacts of climate change will manifest as:

  • 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
  • Saltwater incursions into freshwater swamps as a result of sea level rise, along with other pressures on coastal resources including habitat availability that may be lost due to sea level encroachment
  • Fire will be important but limited by growth rates and grazing.

 

Projections

Rain_Pilb
Temp_Pilb
Average annual increase in temperature in the range of +1°C to +4°C by 2050

  • Summer +1°C to +4°C
  • Autumn +1°C to +3°C
  • Winter +1°C to +2.5°C
  • Spring +1.5°C to +4°C

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

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

Average annual relative humidity to generally decrease by -0.5% to  -3% 2050

  • Summer -0.5% to -2%
  • Autumn -0.5% to -2%
  • Winter -1% to -3%
  • Spring -0.5% to -2%

Annual average wind speed to remain approximately constant

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

Annual average potential evapotranspiration to increase by +2% to +8% by 2050

  • Summer +2% to +8%
  • Autumn +2% to +8%
  • Winter +2% to +8%
  • Spring -2% to +8%