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Drier times ahead for drought stricken Australia

Published:  23 July, 2008

Australia's grape growers look likely to face rising temperatures rises and a further reduction in rainfall according to a new climate study.

The study released by the the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and the Commonwealth Scientific and Inndustrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) reported that by 2030 temperatures will rise by about 1C across Australia.

The CSIRO's Dr Penny Whetton said: "The probability of warming exceeding 1C is 10-20 per cent for coastal areas and more than 50 per cent for inland regions."

The amount of warming later this century will depend on the rate of greenhouse gas emissions. "If emissions are low we anticipate warming of between 1C and 2.5C around 2070, with a best estimate of 1.8C," said Whetton. "Under a high-emission scenario the best estimate is 3.4C, with a range of 2.2C to 5C."

It predicted fewer frosts which will be a relief for some Limestone Coast growers who lost their entire crop to it last year. However there look set to be substantially more days in excess of 35 centigrade.

The report also claims droughts are likely to become more frequent particularly in the south-west, including Margaret River.

By 2070 rainfall is expected to drop between 20 and 30 per cent.