Climate Actions Start Now

October 15, 2015

climate change cyclones

Climate Change: It's better to do something about it than not



Cyclones are a fact of life in the Wet Tropics but how many of us wait until the cyclone’s actually upon us before we start tying down the outdoor furniture and taping the windows?

Over the years we’ve all been educated by public awareness campaigns on the importance of preparing for a cyclone, even when we’re not 100% certain that it will affect us. Uncertainty about whether or not the cyclone will be a direct hit doesn’t stop us from taking action to be ready. We know that the cost of being unprepared could be our life.

In many ways the issue of our changing climate is similar in that we know it’s happening but we can’t be sure about how it will affect us and when those affects will be realised. Part of the problem is the fact that climate change occurs over long periods of time and many of the early changes are more subtle than a Tropical Cyclone.

And, on top of that, the debate around climate change has become so politicised, that we are in danger of not doing any preparation at all while we argue about the details.

In the meantime the storm is brewing so isn’t it better to do something now rather than wait until its right on top of us?

What can we do?

As a part of Terrain’s review of the Wet Tropics Plan for People & Country the Australian Government provided funds to incorporate climate change data and adaptation strategies.

We have worked with a number of partners including CSIRO and James Cook University to assess projected climate changes in our region.

This is what we do know:

  • There will be substantial increases in average, maximum and minimum temperatures
  • There will be substantial increases in the temperature of hot days, as well as in the frequency and duration of extreme temperatures
  • There will be increases in evapotranspiration in all seasons
  • There will be increased intensity of extreme rainfall
  • There are likely to be less frequent but more intense cyclones
  • There will be substantial increases in sea levels

These changes will have significant impact on our community, businesses, farms, wildlife and natural resources.

While climate change itself can only be halted by a global strategy, the new Plan includes information about what the projected changes might mean for our region and potential adaptation pathways moving forward.

The adaptation pathways identify the sorts of things we need to start doing or considering now in order to make better decisions for our future.

For more information and access to some of the information used to inform the Wet Tropics Plan for People & Country check out the Climate Change in Australia website.