The most recent assessment of Australian weather trends (seasonal update: abnormal autumn 2014) from the Climate Council warns of a warmer than average winter. Professor Will Steffen says that “warmer weather increases the odds that the ski season will be shorter”.
“The unseasonably warm conditions that many regions of Australia experienced in April and May are likely to continue through winter. Higher-than-average maximum and minimum temperatures are likely over most of the country with the chances of warmer-than-average conditions being particularly high for the southern half of the continent.
With a warmer winter on the cards this year, the prospect of increasing intensity and frequency of winter warm spells could lengthen Australia’s bushfire season and worsen drought conditions”.
As skiers and boarders will remember from last winter, when overall temperatures are warmer than usual, it doesn’t take much to lose snow base when there are precipitation events. Victoria was especially hard hit last year, with loss of the entire base in July after a reasonable start to the winter in June.
The good news is that we can do something about this if we choose to do so:
“These trends can be turned around. Australians have an opportunity to rapidly and significantly reduce our CO2 emissions to help stabilise the climate and halt the current trend towards more extreme weather events and hotter average temperatures”.