the late 2018 Bushfires and Heatwave event, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM)
issued Special Climate Statement (SCS) 67, titled ‘An extreme heatwave on the
tropical Queensland coast’. QFES worked collaboratively to contribute
information relating to the bushfire event and reviewed an analysis of the fire
weather during the event.
publication initiated the co-authoring of study between the BoM Climate
Services Division and QFES to examine observed fire weather trends, and climate
change projections (where practicable) for Queensland. This is to ensure the
continued expansion of the evidence base that informs strategic and operational
decision-making and planning.
report titled ‘Changes to Fire Weather in Queensland’ describes the long-term
changes in fire-weather conditions for Queensland across the period 1950-2018,
including an assessment of Forest Fire Danger Index (FFDI) and other relevant
climatic variables (rainfall, temperature).
report provides a whole of State perspective and summaries for the nine climate
sub-regions within Queensland. Analyses has also been conducted across the
1989-2018 period to provide additional spatial analysis for the most recent
30-year period and allow for the examination of temporal patterns, i.e. recent
versus longer term fire weather trends.
selection of key findings found in the executive summary include:
averaged maximum temperatures have risen across the period 1950-2018 for
most of the State;
rainfall has risen over most of the far west and far north of the State,
but has declined across the remainder of the state particularly on the
accumulated FFDI, highest daily FFDI and incidence of days greater than
or equal to FFDI 25 has risen across most of the state, particularly in
greater than or equal to FFDI 25 are occurring earlier in Spring and in
the case of the South West on occasion in late Winter. Thus, fire seasons
are starting earlier and in some cases finishing later;
fire weather characteristics have not been uniform for the period
1950-2018, changes have been more rapid in recent decades (1989-2018);
associated study examining FFDI trends using climate change projections
indicate that the trends observed are likely to continue.
the diversity of Queensland’s climate regions, state-wide trends must be
treated with caution when using them to describe the trends within any one
climate region, e.g. for the State as whole the in-active period of the year
for fire weather appears to be narrowing, but this is representative of the
active period starting earlier in some regions and ending later in others.
Changes to Fire Weather in Queensland (PDF 8MB)
A report from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, prepared for Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.