Climate variability is a significant feature of the East Gippsland climate with patterns of drought, flood and fire occurring across history.
A summary of the most recent climate projections for the region, based on research from CSIRO, indicate that the future climate in East Gippsland is likely to have the following characteristics:
- Average daily minimum and maximum temperatures are predicted to increase, with an increase in the temperature reached on the hottest days and increase in the frequency of hot days and duration of warm spells.
- Decline in average annual rainfall particularly autumn-winter and spring rainfall, with potentially an increase in summer rainfall.
- Tendency for heavier rainfall interspersed by longer dry periods, with some extremely dry and wet years, with natural variability continuing to be a major driver of rainfall.
Intensity of rainfall and time in drought
- Intensity of heavy rainfall events is predicted to increase, with timing and magnitude driven by natural variability.
- A decline in the number, but an increase in the intensity of east coast lows, impacting on average rainfall and heavy rain events.
- Time spent in drought is predicted to increase in line with changes to average rainfall, and the frequency and duration of extreme droughts will increase.
- Little change in annual average wind speed, but higher wind speeds during the cooler months (July to October) and lower wind speeds during the warmer months (November to May).
- Decrease in relative humidity across all seasons, with a tendency for decreases in humidity to coincide with areas of rainfall decline, leading to reduced effective water availability through lower moisture inputs and higher rates of evapotranspiration.
- More frequent and intense fires are projected as a result of increased temperature and reduced relative humidity.
- Continued increase in sea levels and more frequent sea level extremes, including storm surge, is projected.