Professor Roger Stone of USQ said residents should prepare for more extreme weather events.
Professor Roger Stone of USQ said residents should prepare for more extreme weather events.

Predictions point to more extreme weather events

DAY to day you are not going to notice climate change, according to Toowoomba climatologist Roger Stone.

Instead, he believes our changing weather system is going to impact on our lives in more extreme and dramatic ways.

Professor Stone of the University of Southern Queensland said long-term, international predictions indicated a rise extreme weather events, similar to those experienced in the region last week.

"Climate change models do show an increase in extreme weather and climatic events," Prof Stone said.

"Add to that, higher temperatures which create more active weather systems."

However, Prof Stone stopped short of linking last week's weather to climate change.

"Climate change is having only a small impact on day-to-day weather and climate," he said.

Laidley residents clean up after flood, teacher Barbara Buchanan at the Laidley kindergarten. . Photo: Bev Lacey / The Chronicle
Barbara Buchanan cleans up after floodwaters inundated the Laidley kindergarten last week. Bev Lacey

Prof Stone also noted that it was statistically incorrect to refer to "one-in-100-years" weather events.

"It is an inappropriate expression and gives people the wrong impression," he said.

"Instead, it should be referred to as 'in any given year there is a one per cent chance (of an event happening)'.

"So it was statistically possible for an event to occur in 2011 and then again this year."

The University of Adelaide released a global study linking the frequency of extreme rain events with rising temperatures.

Lead author Dr Seth Westra said: "The results are that rainfall extremes are increasing on average globally. They show that there is a seven per cent increase in extreme rainfall intensity for every degree increase in global atmospheric temperature.

"Assuming an increase in global average temperature by three to five degrees Celsius by the end of the 21st century, this could mean very substantial increases in rainfall intensity as a result of climate change."

Yesterday, the Bureau of Meteorology released official information confirming that January, 2013 was the hottest month on record in Australia.

The average mean temperature was 29.68 degrees and the average mean maximum temperature was 36.92 degrees.

Records fall

  •  Australia recorded its hottest month on record in January 2013, with both the average mean temperature of 29.68°C and the average mean maximum temperature of 36.92°, surpassing previous records set in January 1932
  •  Queensland recorded 30.75°C, also the hottest mean temperature for January
  •  The highest temperature recorded during the heatwave was at Moomba in South Australia, 49.6°C on January 12
  •  More information is at: