Top Ten climate change reasons Australia needs to conserve water in 2020
One of the well-celebrated tourists’ destinations in the world – the land Down Under – is home to hopping kangaroos, cuddly koalas, splendour Sydney Opera House and the magnificent Great Barrier Reefs. All wonders aside, the country is vulnerable to the threats of global climate change that has engulfed the whole planet. The water resources on the planet are gradually shrinking in size and the abrupt rainfall patterns have wreaked havoc in many regions. If measures were not taken timely, the country will soon encounter a serious water crisis. Here are the top reasons why Australia needs to conserve water in 2020:
1. Rising Temperatures
Reality check: Australia’s climate has heated up by more than 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit since 1910. If the pattern goes the same, Australia is expected to get warm by more than 9 degrees Fahrenheit by 2090 which is a HUGE deal. A country which is already dry and hot will get drier and hotter if timely actions were not taken. Sydney has witnessed a record rise in temperatures during the past two years. The increasing temperatures will have dire consequences on the ice caps and glaciers which will melt faster and importantly on the soil and land which will become drier due to faster evaporation.
2. Unanticipated rainfall patterns
From one year to next, and from one decade to another, the pattern of rainfall in Australia has varied greatly due to large scale phenomena of El Niño and La Niña. The southern part of the country has remained seriously affected by the abrupt rainfall patterns. These irregularities have also not spared southwest Western Australia which has also seen a serious decline in rainfall. The reduction in rainfall across southern Australia is linked with high atmospheric pressure in the region causing a shift in weather patterns on large scale. Nevertheless, a net increase in summer rainfall has been seen on the continent.
3. Ocean currents
Ocean currents are responsible for carrying the heat around the Earth. Under the influence of the direction of these shifting currents, the temperatures of areas change making some areas cooler and other warmers. A huge amount of heat is stored in ocean currents therefore, a slight change in these currents have a drastic impact on coastal and global climate.
Estimates show that by 2030, three-meter hectares of forests in eastern Australia will be cleared. It is a red signal for climate experts and of course inhabitants of this land that the future of Australia will not be pleasing if actions are not taken now. A simple and easy lesson taught since school time is that plants and trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air while releasing oxygen. It means negligible greenhouse effect and reduced changes in temperatures. Clearing the land of trees will result in phenomena exactly opposite to that of tree plantation. In Australia, a major chunk of greenhouse gas emissions due to land clearing is projected to be between 673 and 826 Mt CO²e till 2030.
Australia has seen exacerbating drought conditions due to climatic changes. The country is getting hotter due to the global rise in temperatures resulting in frequent and faster evaporation from the surface which will continue in the future. Unfortunately, most part of nature’s gift of rainwater vaporizes from the soil leaving behind dry parched land. Just two years back, Australia battled with the worst drought in its history. In the wake of changing rainfall patterns and rising temperatures, it is anticipated that Southern Australia will face severe drought in the years to come.
Rising temperatures and dry climate other warmers perfectly set the stage for bush and wildfires in Australia. Especially, the years after 1950 have seen longer and larger fires as plants get dried and died. Southern and eastern regions of Australia have also witnessed extreme wildfires causing heatwaves which have affected the inhabitants of the region. The eastern state of Queensland combated about 200 fires just two years back.
7. Greenhouse gas emissions
Australia has the largest carbon dioxide emission rates in the whole world as it produces 1.3% of greenhouse gases in the world. Increase in greenhouse gases including methane is the leading factor causing global warming. Exaggerated emissions will further increase the global warming leading to increased temperatures. Not only this, greenhouse gas emissions are causing oceans to become more acidic and their surface temperatures to increase. The iconic Great Barrier Reef has been the victim of warmer and more acidic waters, expelling the algae and turning white hence undergoing “coral bleaching” – a phenomenon which can upset entire marine ecosystem.
8. Water vapors
Through a feedback mechanism, as the Earth’s temperature increases, the amount of water vapours increases and so does the likelihood of cloud formation and precipitation which makes water vapours the most important factor causing greenhouse effect.
9. Burning of fossil fuels
The human race has been unkind to Mother Nature. To meet its own demands and needs, it cut down trees, lit the wood and burnt the coal and oil without even thinking for a second what damage it can cause to the planet and its resources. The result was obvious, as more and more fossil fuels burnt, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased. Higher carbon emissions trap heat inside the atmosphere creating a greenhouse effect and leading to climate change. We have met our energy demands but sadly at the stake of the planet’s health.
10. Animal agriculture
Animal agriculture is suffocating the planet and its resources…….but how? Raising animals for meat, milk and eggs produce about 15% of total global greenhouse gas emissions, which makes this figure second-highest considering all the sources of emissions. Also, this percentage is greater than all emissions generated by transport combined. Not only has this, rearing livestock requires more than 70% of agricultural land. This all combined is one of the principal causes of deforestation, water pollution and loss of biodiversity.
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The above-listed factors are contributing to global rise in temperature which consequentially is causing less frequent rainfalls, greater water evaporation from Earth’s surface, increased melting of glaciers and ice caps leading to a shortage of fresh of water globally. Due to these reasons, Australia has to timely conserve its water so as to avoid water scarcity crisis in the country in the coming years.