Australian bushfires to become "more frequent, prolonged and severe": study


Australian bushfires to become "more frequent, prolonged and severe": study


Experts have warned that Austra-lia's devastating 2019/20 bushfires were a "wake up call" to the extreme effects of climate change in the country.

In a study published on late Thursday, the team from Australian National University (ANU) and the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes warned that bushfires will become increasingly more severe in Australia as a result of global warming.

The 2019/20 bushfire season, which has been dubbed the "Black Summer", was one of the worst in Australian history.

More than 30 people died in the fires with another estimated 445 deaths linked to smoke inhalation, and more than 18 million hectares of land were burned.

"In the lead up to the summer of 2019/2020 many parts of southeast Australia were three years into a severe drought," Nerilie Abram, the lead author of the study from ANU, said in a media release, adding that "2019 was our hottest and driest year on record. This climate set-up created exceptionally dry fuel loads that primed the landscape to burn, and dangerous fire weather that allowed fires to quickly escalate."

"Our new work highlights the strong evidence that southeast Australia's climate has shifted, and that this type of fire weather is becoming more frequent, prolonged and severe."

The study found that predictions made more than 10 years ago that the climate-driven fire risk would increase significantly by 2020 had come true.

Abram said that the Black Summer was an example of what was to come for Australian summers.