IAG is urging Australia to take drastic and immediate action after new research revealed the country is likely to suffer from more extreme weather events in the future – and all with increasing severity.
The report, Severe Weather in a Changing Climate, was released by IAG in collaboration with the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and includes the latest predictions on extreme weather events spurred by rising global temperatures.
According to the report, Australia should be bracing itself for higher intensity tropical cyclones, increased bushfire risk, more frequent and extreme fire seasons, more damaging hail events, more intense rainfall, and more frequent flooding as sea levels continue to rise.
“Each year, we are confronted globally with extreme weather events that become natural disasters,” said IAG MD and CEO Peter Harmer.
“This report shows that our climate is changing more rapidly than some have predicted, so it is critical there is a coordinated national approach from governments, industries and businesses to build more resilient communities and reduce the impact of disasters.”
Mark Leplastrier, executive manager of natural perils for IAG, commented on one particularly worrying finding, that tropical cyclones are likely to be travelling further south, with higher intensity.
“This means that parts of South East Queensland and North East New South Wales will start to experience greater devastation from strong winds and torrential rainfall due to cyclones,” he warned.
“These regions are densely-populated and to safeguard these communities now and into the future, there needs to be greater investment across all sectors to reduce the financial and physical burden as the climate warms.”
The report also stresses the need for significantly more thorough resilience and mitigation planning by individuals and organisations, as communities will have no choice but to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
“With the annual economic cost of natural disasters predicted to hit $39 billion by 2050, we need to invest more as a nation to better protect communities,” said Leplastrier. “This includes adequate land planning and building codes to ensure our infrastructure is able to withstand extreme weather, especially for cyclone and flood-prone regions.”
Cindy Bruyère, director of NCAR’s Capacity Center for Climate and Weather Extremes, warned that climate change is becoming a major risk multiplier.
“[It’s] generating more extreme weather events that threaten life and property and weaken economic growth,” she said. “It is imperative that we work together to better understand these risks, so society can take appropriate steps to mitigate the potential impacts.”