Victoria is already experiencing the impacts of climate change. Decrease in average rainfall. Temperature increase of just over 1.0° C since 1910. Significant increase in fire danger in spring. In future Victoria can expect: Average annual increase up to 2.4°C. Longer fire seasons, with up to 60% more very high danger days. Melbourne’s climate could be more like Wangarattas. Decline in Alpine snowfall of 35-75%. Decline in cool season rainfall. More intense downpours. Sea levels will raise by around 24cm. Double the number of very hot days.

Victoria’s Climate Science Report 2019 brings together the latest climate change science knowledge gained from the Victorian Government’s ongoing investment in climate science, for example the Victorian Climate Projections 2019 and the Victorian Water and Climate Initiative. The report gives us valuable insights into both how our climate is changing and what it means for Victoria’s future.

Victoria’s climate has changed in recent decades, becoming warmer and drier. These changes are expected to continue in the future. Understanding the drivers and impacts of these changes, as well as what we can expect in the future, will help us to plan and adapt.

Victorian Government Action on Climate Change

The Victorian Government is taking strong and lasting action to reduce Victoria’s emissions to net zero by 2050 and build resilient communities prepared to deal with the impacts of climate change.

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Victoria’s Climate Science Report 2019

Send your questions to climate.science@delwp.vic.gov.au

Read the Frequently Asked Questions on Victoria's Climate Science Report 2019

Victoria's changing climate

Victoria’s climate varies from year to year and decade to decade due to the influence of large-scale climate drivers such as the El Niño Southern Oscillation. Long-term observed records show that Victoria’s climate is changing under the influence of both natural variability and global warming. 

Victoria’s climate is shaped by weather systems, seasonal influences and large-scale climate drivers. Learn more about the large-scale climate drivers influencing Victoria’s rainfall in the Victorian Government’s Climate Dogs animations.

Figure shows days per year when Victorian average temperature is ‘unusually hot’. Unusually hot days are those above the 99th percentile of each month from the years 1910 to April 2019 (BoM, 2019).

Figure shows days per year when Victorian average temperature is ‘unusually hot’. Unusually hot days are those above the 99th percentile of each month from the years 1910 to April 2019 (BoM, 2019).

Extreme heat events already cost the Victorian economy on average $87 million a year and this cost is projected to rise as heatwave events become more frequent.

Maps showing warm season (November–March) and cool season (April–October) rainfall deciles. The maps show how the rainfall total over the past 30 years (1989–2019) for the given months compares to every 30-year period in the historical record. For example, decile 1 (very much below average) shows areas where rainfall over the past 30 years is in the lowest 10% of all such 30-year periods in the full range of long-term records back to 1900 (BoM, 2019).

Maps showing warm season (November–March) and cool season (April–October) rainfall deciles.

The maps show how the rainfall total over the past 30 years (1989–2019) for the given months compares to every 30-year period in the historical record. For example, decile 1 (very much below average) shows areas where rainfall over the past 30 years is in the lowest 10% of all such 30-year periods in the full range of long-term records back to 1900 (BoM, 2019).

For more information visit the Victorian Water and Climate Initiative.

The number of very high fire danger days in spring has increased. The chart shows the number of days with Forest Fire Danger Index (FFDI) greater than 25 (very high fire danger) in Victoria in spring for the years (1978–2018) (BoM, 2019).

The number of very high fire danger days in spring has increased. The chart shows the number of days with Forest Fire Danger Index (FFDI) greater than 25 (very high fire danger) in Victoria in spring for the years (1978–2018) (BoM, 2019).

Victoria's future climate

Climate models help us to understand the changes that are already happening and provide guidance on the changes to come. Climate projections suggest that Victoria will continue to become warmer and drier in the future.

Comparison of observations and projections in Victoria suggest that temperature has been tracking towards the upper limit of projections while winter rainfall has been tracking towards the drier end of projections.

Comparison of the observed average annual temperatures for Victoria with the projected range of change. Shown are observed temperature difference from 1961-1990 average (thin black line) plus the 10-year running average (thicker line), and the projected temperature change to 2030 across climate models and emissions scenarios (relative to a 1986–2005 baseline period). For more details on the method, see Grose et al. (2017b) (CSIRO, 2019). Comparison of the observed average annual temperatures for Victoria with the projected range of change. Shown are observed temperature difference from 1961-1990 average (thin black line) plus the 10-year running average (thicker line) and the projected temperature change to 2030 across climate models and emissions scenarios (relative to a 1986–2005 baseline period). For more details on the method, see Grose et al. (2017b) (CSIRO, 2019).

Observed rainfall averaged over Victoria (AWAP; thin black line) plus the 10-year running mean (thicker line), and the projected rainfall change to 2030 across climate models and emissions scenarios (relative to a 1986–2005 baseline period) (dark grey shading) plus an indication of decadal variability (light grey shading; one standard deviation of 10-year running average from the observations). For more details on the method, see Grose et al. (2017b) (CSIRO, 2019).

Projections for Victoria indicate the state is likely to become hotter and drier in the future, but the timing and extent of changes will vary across regions. Find out more about the projected changes for your region.

By the 2050s, if the current rate of global warming continues, Victorian towns could experience around double the number of very hot days each year compared to the 1986-2005 average.

Comparison of the median number of hot days per year currently (between 1986 and 2005) and in the 2050s under high emissions (RCP 8.5). Hot days have maximum temperature greater than the thresholds of 35°C, 38°C and 40°C for locations across Victoria (CSIRO, 2019).

Annual rainfall is projected to decrease across the state, but when extreme rainfall events do occur, they are likely to be more intense.

Average decline in annual rainfall in percent for locations across Victoria for the 2050s under high emissions scenario (RCP 8.5) compared to 1986–2005 (CSIRO, 2019).

Average decline in annual rainfall in percent for locations across Victoria for the 2050s under high emissions scenario (RCP 8.5) compared to 1986–2005 (CSIRO, 2019).

Victorian alpine areas are also projected to continue to experience declining snowfall (35-75% by the 2050s under high emissions) (Harris et al 2016).

Victoria is likely to have a longer fire season with the number of very high fire danger days likely to continue to increase. By the 2050s under high emissions Bendigo, Ballarat and Shepparton show over a 60% increase in the number of high fire danger days compared to 1986–2005 (CSIRO, 2019).

Sea levels along the Victorian coast are also likely to continue to rise.

Sea level rise projections (cm) relative to the baseline (1986–2005) for key Victorian locations under high (RCP8.5) emissions scenarios for the 2030s and the 2070s.

Sea level rise projections (cm) relative to the baseline (1986–2005) for key Victorian locations under high (RCP8.5) emissions scenarios for the 2030s and the 2070s. (CSIRO and BoM, 2015)

Page last updated: 28/11/19