A new CSIRO tool released today (Wednesday) aims to make it easier to answer what it will be like to live in more than 400 cities and towns around Australia in a climate change-affected future.

The CSIRO at the beginning of this year released a study showing how areas of Australia were projected to fare with climate change, detailing expected temperature and rainfall change, as well as exposure to bushfire, sea level rise and other extreme weather events.

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Now the organisation has released a new Climate Analogues tool to answering that common question: “What will it be like where I live?”

After finding a town or city, users are able to control for timeframe (2030, 2050 or 2090), emissions scenario (low, medium or high) and regional results from global climate models (best, worst or most likely) to find expected effects.

The system uses climate analogues – places that currently experience the climate another place will see in the future – to give users an easy-to-understand indication of what these climate projections mean.

According to CSIRO scientists Leanne Webb and Penny Whetton, writing in The Conversation, in 2090, under high emissions and maximum model consensus, Melbourne’s future climate matches the current climate in Dubbo, Muswellbrook or Cowra in NSW.

“Climate analogues can be useful for a number of purposes: agriculture, urban planning, or natural resource management,” they write. “However there are some things that they can’t tell us: frost days, solar radiation, soils and other local climate influences. They can help us start to imagine what the future can look like, but we’d strongly caution against their direct use in decision-making where a more detailed assessment is advised.”

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